Screening and Q&A—”Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte”

A warm welcome and congratulations to my new colleagues Magda Desgranges and Shanaaz Mohammed for organizing a film screening of the documentary film Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte, which recently won the award for Best Documentary by the 2022 Haiti International Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a and Q&A session with director Arnold Antonin. This event takes place on Tuesday, October 11, at 5:00pm (EST) at Lowell Thomas 019, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York.

Arnold Antonin is a Haitian filmmaker who has directed films on Haitian art, culture, and history. He is known at home and abroad for his social, political, and cultural commentary. In 2002, he received the Djibril Diop Mambety Award at the International Film Festival in Cannes. He is also the recipient of the Paul Robeson Best Film Award in 2007, 2009, and 2011. In 2021, he was recognized as the “Father of Haitian Cinema” for his commitment to uplifting the Haitian Diaspora through cinema. 

His film, Jean-Jacques Dessalines: The Man Who Defeated Napoléon Bonaparte (94-minutes long) is the first feature-length Haitian film about the Haitian Revolution and the War of Independence—and the very first documentary anywhere in the world on Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Dessalines is Haiti’s main founder who was assassinated two years after the proclamation of independence. Today he is both a mythical and an unknown figure. With analyses by Pierre Buteau, Jean Casimir, Michèle Pierre-Louis, Jean Alix René, Bayyinah Bello, Vertus Saint-Louis, Jhon Picard Byron, Lesly Péan, and Daniel Elie, among others, this film reintroduces Dessalines in all his complexity and opens a debate on Haitian crises and colonial heritage. 

For more information on the film, see

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