Monday, July 27, 2009

A documentary on Honduras making the film festival circuit

A new documentary that focuses on Honduran poverty is making the rounds at film festivals. Blinded by Open Arms is produced by Alexie Elfmont a 24 year old recent College graduate from Miami. Elfmont and some friends traveled down to Honduras to film a fund raising video for a non-profit, but decided to stay longer and make a film.

From the Miami Herald, reporter Susana Montes-Delgado details some of the young film crews encounters.

For 17 days, the filmmakers interviewed former M-13 (Mara Salvatrucha) and M-18 gang members, drug addicts, lawyers, policemen, politicians and prison officials.

They filmed children begging on street corners, inhaling glue and sleeping on sheets of cardboard. Their stories have a common theme: extreme poverty, low education rates and broken homes. More than 50 percent of the Honduran population lives below the poverty line.

The young filmmaker took her camera into San Pedro Sula's prison, where prostitution and rapes are common. Foreigners are the most common target of kidnappings. Although there are women in the prison, it is not divided by gender, Elfmont said.

``We went inside with one policeman. I remember walking through the prison and feeling the eyes of the inmates fixated on our bodies,'' she said. ``I felt I was a piece of meat and that at any moment, something could happen to me.''

Later that night, filmmakers went out with a Honduran SWAT team that regularly patrols the streets. They came across a 13-year-old boy who appears in the film sniffing glue.

``Why are you in the street?'' Elfmont asks.

``Because I don't have a family,'' he replies.

Sabillon was impressed with the candor of those interviewed.

``Nobody does this in Honduras,'' he said, discussing the film. ``In a way, people are victims of the system and they wanted to be heard.''

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am amazaed that this kids made a video trying to show the world about poverty in Honduras. While each and every president in Honduras only cared about himself and have never tried to awaken awareness about the low living conditions of most of the Hondurans. Our ex-president is making a parade around the world asking help for himself, while he was a president you never heard him raise his voice asking for help for the poor!

Anonymous said...

how can I see this film? would love to watch it!

Amanda said...

My name is Amanda Raposo and I am an employee at the Educational Alliance after school program in New York City. This year, we started a program at the Edgies Teen Center called Global Girls, where we selected five lucky teenage girls to go on an all expense paid service learning trip abroad. We will be taking them to Honduras and want to spend the weeks leading to our trip in July learning about the social, cultural and historical context of the country we visit. Ideally, they will have a strong understanding of the social issues and cultural differences they will face by the time we leave.

I am emailing you because I think that showing your documentary will be the perfect launch and learning opportunity for our students. However, I noticed that there is no option to purchase it online. Is this a possibility yet? Please let me know if you have any advice!

my email is amanda_raposo@edalliance.org

Kale said...

Hi Amanda, you will have to try to contact Alexie Elfmont for viewing info on the movie. We just helped to publicize it.