The AgronomistMonday, October 29, 2018 @ 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Join us for a screening of The Agronomist presented by Sembène–The Film & Art Festival.
Runtime: 90 minutes
Languages: English, French & Haitian Creole
Johnathan Demme’s documentary, The Agronomist, is a film about Jean Leopold Dominique and his wife, Michèle Montas, owners of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first independent radio station.
Jean Léopold Dominique (July 31, 1930 – April 3, 2000) was a Haitian journalist and pro-democracy activist. His station, Radio Haiti-Inter, was the first to broadcast news, investigative reporting, and political analysis in Haitian Creole, the language spoken by all Haitian people. He was assassinated on April 3, 2000, a crime for which no suspects were identified nor prosecuted.
Radio Haiti was founded in 1960, but in 1969 it became Radio Haiti-Inter. Jean Dominique’s broadcasts focused on injustice from the perspective of pro-democracy for the masses. He was able to approach and present problems from the perspective of the poor Haitians, but especially the rural agriculturalists with whom he identified closely. It is this perspective that garnered him the honorary title of the Agronomist.
The most remarkable fact of Jean Dominique’s radio career is that it lasted for decades in the fact of powerful and brutal opposition. He survived torture and attempted assassinations, as did some of his staff. As a result of outright courage and solidarity Radio Haiti-Inter wasn’t silenced for decades.
Even after the assassination of Jean Dominique, his wife and fellow journalist, Michèle Montas, courageously broadcast from the station for another three years. On Christmas Day 2002, there was an attempt on Montas’ life in which her bodyguard was murdered. Radio Haiti-Inter ceased operations in February 2003.
Filmmaker Johnathan Demme (1944 – 2017) was a celebrated filmmaker who created a massive body of work including feature films, documentaries, commercials and music videos. His most well-known films are The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia and Beloved. His film The Silence of the Lambs is one of only three films to win an Academy Award in all categories.
Sembène – The Film & Art Festival – is a group of scholars, activists and film aficionados. Our mission is to celebrate the life, showcase the work and honor the legacy of African Filmmaker Ousmane Sembene, through film and other complementary cultural events.
The Festival serves both as a vehicle and catalyst: to honor the life, work and legacy of Ousmane Sembene and to showcase film makers and other art/cultural events that speak, unflinchingly, to the important issues facing the modern African Diaspora.