The Other Side of the Water: Journey of a Haitian Rara Band
The Other Side of the Water follows a 20-year journey of the Haitian-American community, told through the lens of a vodou-based walking band in Brooklyn. The music is called rara: part-carnival, part-vodou ceremony, and part-grassroots protest. Rara originally served as a voice of the slaves in their revolt against the French and continued on as the voice of those struggling against ongoing dictatorship in Haiti. The Other Side of the Water focuses on the journey of the poetic visionary Pé Yves, a leader of the rara movement in New York since the late ‘80s, as he strives to keep this musical art form alive while encountering attacks from the Haitian Christian community and new ideas from younger members of the rara movement.
Magali (Magi) Damas has worked the past fifteen years in video production, festival organization, and civic activism. In 2004, she co-produced The Cause of Pierre Toussaint and co-directed a music video for Djarara, which was featured on the national cable broadcast of Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. She’s currently the video coordinator for HaitiXchange.com and works in a variety of production roles for Metrovision Production Group, NYC. From 2000 to 2002 she helped organize Haiti’s second largest festival “Gelee” in Les Cayes, as well as a rara festival in Pauillant. She works tirelessly to promote Haitian culture both here and in Haiti.
Jeremy Robins is a media educator and filmmaker with a passion for visual storytelling. In early 2004 he produced and directed The Cause of Pierre Toussaint, a documentary of a 17th century Haitian former slave who is now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. He currently works as a field producer for MTV’s True Life, and for Downtown Community Television Productions. As an educator, he teaches production classes at Downtown Community Television (DCTV), and has designed youth development programs and taught video production to teenagers as part of the Harlem Children’s Zone Project since 1998. He has written for The Independent Film & Video Monthly and the Brooklyn Rail.