[quote] Posted on Thu, Jan. 27, 2005
A Miami model and actress who grew up in Port-au-Prince is hoping her film, Haiti Through My Eyes, will help educate Americans about her country.
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES
As a model and actress, Lutza is used to the admiring glances and stares. But it is the attention she gets when she informs people where she's from that disturbs her most.
'I run into people all the time and they'll say, `Oh, you are Haitian? You are from Haiti?' '' said the Miami resident, who has graced fashion runways and magazines and had a cameo in Bad Boys 2.
'When people say, `You're really Haitian?,' that hurts really bad. What is a Haitian?''
In an attempt to answer the question for inquiring minds, Lutza has decided to tell the story of Haiti through her e
yes. Her historical journey, which began in August and ended a week before devastating floods nearly engulfed the city of Gonaives, has resulted in a 60-minute DVD titled Haiti Through My Eyes.
''I love Haitian people and I love my country most of all,'' said Lutza, who will be premiering the film at 9:30 p.m. Friday at B.E.D. nightclub and restaurant, 929 Washington Ave. in Miami Beach.
``I thought if someone showed something different about Haiti, maybe it could change the stereotype of what a Haitian person is.''
That something different is 200 years of Haitian history told through the country's scenic beauty and historical ruins.
Along with Haitian-born filmmaker and Hallandale resident Jephté Bastien, Lutza traveled the country, visiting historical locales such as Gonaives; Cap-Haitien, once dubbed Little Paris; and Port-au-Prince, the center of government.
In each place, the duo filmed against historical backdrops like the home of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Fa
ther of Haitian Independence, and the 19th century fortress and so-called eighth wonder of the world, La Citadelle.
The protagonist in the film is Lutza, who portrays a storyteller who takes on five different forms, illustrated through various colors, to help a young American boy understand that ``Haitian history also is black history.''
''We have influenced history in such a big way, and we don't get the respect for it,'' said Lutza, who financed the film through personal loans from family and friends.
At the same time, she says, the country has also suffered and been misunderstood, illustrated by the storyteller's use of red and black.
''She is suffering in those colors,'' Lutza said.
Gold represents Haiti's promise and hope.
''Haitians are a great people and they are like gold that is not yet purified,'' said Bastien. ``I believe Haiti is like gold, and all we have to do as Haitians is dust if off; make it shine the way it
is supposed to.''
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