Press Release

Nov. 29, 2023

Miami filmmakers shine the spotlight on Little Haiti, social justice at Dec. 13 Oolite Arts screening

(Nov. 29, 2023) Miami – On Dec. 13, a group of 13 filmmakers will present a series of new short films that highlight Little Haiti and the pressing justice issues Miamians face daily, in a free screening presented by Oolite Arts.

The “Pass the Mic + Local Love Letters: Little Haiti Screening,” taking place at 7 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, will feature a wide-range of narrative and documentary short films that reflect the soul of Miami.

“In just a few minutes, these filmmakers are capturing not just a moment, but the essence of a neighborhood and the issues Miamians face daily. We’re proud to screen these short films for our community to see,” said Hansel Porras, Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts Manager.

Oolite Arts commissioned the filmmakers through two programs designed to provide opportunities for local creatives. In the past, short films from these programs have won awards from film festivals across the country.

The programs are:

  • Local Love Letters: Little Haiti, where filmmakers were asked to show their affection for the neighborhood in either narrative or documentary shorts, and
  • Pass the Mic: We Will Tell Our Stories, a partnership in its third year with Community Justice Project, where three filmmakers develop documentaries on local issues using participatory storytelling, where the people directly affected by the issues drive the narrative.
  • The filmmakers and descriptions of the films are below.

    Local Love Letters: Little Haiti Films

    The Little Haiti commissions are largely a tribute to everyday life in the neighborhood.
    Joshua Jean-Baptiste’s film “Down to Zero” features a man confronting his aging through an honest conversation with his lifelong barber. “Hooky,” directed by Princess Usanga, humorously captures two teenagers’ attempts to outwit their perceptive grandmother and skip school. And in Angelica Bourland’s “Kaila,” a young girl who is forced to leave Haiti struggles to adapt to life with her aunt in Miami, in a story that speaks to the neighborhood as a place for new beginnings.

    “Kaila look around you,” the main character tells her niece Kaila who is having difficulty adjusting. ”This is your new home. Not everyone gets a chance to start a new life.”

    The films include appearances by familiar local figures such as author Edwidge Danticat, bookstore owner Jean Mapou, and Oscar Fuentes, known as the Biscayne Poet, adding to the richness of the narratives.

    Pass the Mic: We Will Tell Our Stories

    The “Pass the Mic: We Will Tell Our Stories” series showcases documentaries produced in collaboration with the Community Justice Project. These films are crafted through participatory storytelling, meaning the subjects involved are also the storytellers, providing a direct perspective on the issues they face. This year, these films address significant issues such as healthcare, immigration, and criminal justice reform.

    One film, “El Soldador,” directed by Alexandra Martinez, explores the life of a homeless welder in Miami and his reflections on health after receiving treatment from a team of street medics. In “Madre Sombra,” filmmaker Pamela Largaespada joins forces with the Florida Immigrant Coalition to document a family’s struggle to secure legal status for their mother against the backdrop of the state’s shifting immigration laws. Chad Tingle’s “Preemption” shows how local advocates at Chainless Change are focused on justice for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and the oversight of local criminal justice issues.

    To RSVP for the free Dec. 13 screening, visit Oolite Arts’ website.

    Pass the Mic + Local Love Letters: Little Haiti Screening
    7 – 9 p.m. Dec. 13
    Little Haiti Cultural Complex
    212 NE 59th Ter, Miami, FL


    Local Love Letters: Little Haiti Films

    Diana Larrea
    Querido Pequeño Haiti
    A farewell letter to a vanishing neighborhood, from the viewpoint of the immigrant communities who long to find home there

    Matt Deblinger
    The story of the historic Churchill’s Pub, which was a sanctuary for local musicians and a symbol of cultural resilience.

    Xavier Serrano
    En la Pequeña Haití
    A Cuban woman ventures out into Little Haiti in order to find the man in one of her son’s paintings

    Alicia Edwards
    Over a cup of steaming lemongrass tea, Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat reflects on tradition, love, and motherhood

    Princess Usanga
    A Haitian grandmother’s intuition thwarts the plans of two high school girls skipping school in 1995

    Karla Caprali
    Bonswa Mesye O
    An animated short brings to life the enchanting verses of Oscar Fuentes, the Biscayne Poet, through the eyes of Mister “O”

    JR Aristide
    The Mind’s Eye
    A young gifted sketch artist auditions for a talent show in Little Haiti

    Angelica Bourland
    A teen girl is abruptly moved out of her home in Haiti to go live with her aunt in Miami, whom she has never met before

    Joshua Jean Baptiste
    Down to Zero
    A man’s swagger is cut short by Brutus, his childhood barber, who delivers a harsh truth about his hairline, sending him on an introspective journey about acceptance and ego

    Nadia Wolff
    Chante Lapenn
    An experimental portrait of grief exploring the emotional weight of social displacement in Little Haiti as a consequence of gentrification and rising living costs in Miami

    Pass the Mic: We Will Tell Our Stories

    Alexandra Martinez with Miami Street Medicine
    El Soldador
    A houseless welder contemplates his health after receiving care from a team of doctors at Miami Street Medicine

    Pamela Largaespada with Florida Immigrant Coalition
    Madre Sombra: Florida Immigration Coalition & Nicaraguan Immigration in Miami
    As a new state law on immigration winds its way through the Legislature, Leah and Christell Cayasso work to legalize their mother, Bertha Sanles, from the undocumented immigrant shadows of society.

    Chad Tingle with Chainless Change
    As Florida Legislature has an increasingly profound impact on the autonomy of local governments, this film amplifies the voices of prison abolitionists, legal advocates, and citizens in their fight for local oversight of policing practices and the jail system in Broward County.


    Andrea Salazar, [email protected]
    Rachel Pinzur, [email protected]