Promo 2 - Introduction by Gretchen Christine Rossi
Ayiti, The 12th Hour, is about a group of young entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and volunteers under the direction of two Haitian natives who want to serve Haiti as it continues to overcome the challenges of recovering from the catastrophic earthquake on January 12, 2010. Ulysse Toussaint, a wedding and fashion photographer, was not pleased with the images he saw over the media during and immediately after the earthquake. He reached out to a professor from his alma mater, Dr. Kirstin Snow, who since had become the media director for then Governor Ed Rendell. It was critical for Toussaint to return to Haiti because he had not heard from his 96-year-old Grandmother – the woman who had raised his entire family – and did not know whether she had survived.
Having secured a letter of support from Governor Rendell as a media representative from Pennsylvania, he carried his cameras and equipment with him to search for his Grandmother and to begin telling Haiti’s story. Toussaint was moved to do the latter for two reasons: first, he was indignant about the media portraying his home country as helpless; second, he was aware that international attention would only linger on Haiti for a few weeks and would result in temporary assistance rather than long-term solutions. With his expertise and reputation as a photographer, he jumped at the chance to tell a Haitian’s version of Haiti’s story with the goal of encouraging people to help his country in a sustainable way, namely through making education available to and affordable for all, especially women.
Over the past three years, Toussaint has been working tirelessly to draw interest and support for this story – and, in turn, for Haiti – from Philadelphia and across the state of Pennsylvania. The film will focus on the one state continuing to stand with Haiti over three years after the earthquake. It will also highlight a nine-year-old girl, Katie Nesspor, who has helped raise more than $5,000 for the project by making and selling jewelry, showing that we all have something to offer, no matter how big or small. Ayiti, The 12th Hour will serve to inspire this generation as well as to share the rich history of Haiti with an audience that has been shown primarily its poverty.
The film will be produced in memory of the more than 200,000 victims of the 2010 earthquake.
Key people and subjects of this documentary will be Ulysse Toussaint, a Haitian living in the greater Philadelphia area; Junie J. Holod, his sister; Fmr. Governor Edward G. Rendell, Katie Nesspor (our largest donor to date,) Dr. Paul Farmer, Christopher Kulp, Beau Rosario, Charles L. Blockson, and President Bill Clinton.
Directed by Ulysse Toussaint & William Kaufman
Filmmakers: William Kaufman, Beau Rosario, Nick Hernandez, Ulysse Toussaint, Brett McFarland, KelseyD. Davis, Yves Monotone, Dave Wass.
Executive Producers: Ulysse Toussaint, Gov. Ed Rendell, Katie Nesspor