Posted On July 23, 2016 By In Blog, CaFA News, caribbean, caribbean film, Interviews And 950 Views

CaFA Q+A with Jean-René Rinvil

Last Tuesday, Jean-René Rinvil’s film, “Culture Clash,” was released on Studio Anansi Tv.  The film, which premiered in Massachussetts and Miami in May 2014, has also been screened at the 2014 Belize International Film Festival and 2015 Chicago Caribbean Film Festival, and was the winner of the Best Documentary Award at the Haiti Movie Awards in 2014.

We vibed with Jean-René, on making the film and on his views on filmmaking in the Caribbean.

jrr filmmaker pageJEAN-RENÉ RINVIL
Filmmaker
CULTURE CLASH
USA/Haiti
JRR Studios

Jean-René Rinvil, is a filmmaker and a native of Haiti, who grew up in Miami, Florida.  Jean-René has carefully guided his career. He graduated from a prestigious film and television magnet high school in South Miami and later received his Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Production from the University of South Florida, and his Master of Fine Arts in Film and New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

Jean-René enjoys being behind the camera as a director and editor.  With talent and determination, he is committed to making a difference in the world of global filmmaking.  He has worked as a production assistant at Warner Bros “The Felicity Show”, a photographer at the Home Shopping Network and news editor at Miami Fox TV Station.  His list of credits as a director and editor include the award winning documentary “Lavichè: A crisis for the poor in Haiti”.  Jean-René co-directed with Sonia Baez-Hernandez a heart-wrenching documentary on breast cancer “Territories of the breast”.  Jean-René continues developing his talent and wrote and directed a short film “Impasse”.

Jean-René is committed to creating Caribbean films that interest a worldwide audience.  It is evident in his most recent project “Culture Clash” that won best documentary at the 4th Annual Haiti Movie Award (MPAH) 2014 and an award at the Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival 2015.  Jean-René will continue to shed light on important social issues through his films and documentaries.


CaribbeanFilm
In your own words, tell us what this film is about and why you chose to tell this story.

JRR
To me, Culture Clash, is about first generation American-born/raised people, or those who came to the United States at a very young age.  It is about how they grew up versus how their parents grew up in the Caribbean and how the two cultural upbringings have shaped their differences.  I wanted to make a documentary about the culture clashes many Caribbean children of immigrant parents experienced in their schools, at work and in their communities.  I wanted to tell this story because as a Haitian immigrant, I’ve always felt the weight to assimilate while upholding my Haitian culture and not losing who I am.

CaribbeanFilm
Did the film turn out the way you envisioned? If yes, in what ways. If no, why not?

JRR 
Not everything in the film turned out the way I envisioned it. I wanted to sit down with the main subjects and their parents and film them conversing and responding. I also wanted to create some reenactment scenes.

culture clash 5 orig

CaribbeanFilm
Describe some your best experiences while making the film and some of your worst. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

JRR
Some of best experiences, were listening to the stories and seeing how similar they were to my own upbringing.  The worst part was once traveling four hours to another city to film only to find my subject wasn’t ready to film and wanted to reschedule.  If I had to do it all over again, I would make sure I have a producer.

CaribbeanFilm
What do you want the audience to take away from this film?

JRR
What I want the audience to take away from Culture Clash, is that as Caribbean nationals living in the United States, we have to a duty to educate our children about their African/Caribbean history.

CaribbeanFilm
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a filmmaker.

JRR
Well, I was born in Fauche, Haiti and moved to Miami when I was twelve years old.  I would say I became a filmmaker when I was in the seventh grade. I was fed up with the kind of negative images I was seeing in the local Miami TV news stations about Haiti.  I asked my dad to get me a camera, which he did and I started making short projects.  I knew at an early age that the media (the gatekeepers) control perceptions and views about one’s culture, therefore I wanted to use this medium of filmmaking to change the way people see Haiti.

In the eighth-grade I was accepted to a media magnet school – South Miami Senior, and prior to going to high school I attended a summer film camp program at University of Miami.  I spent the whole summer learning about film history and filmmaking.  At the end of the program I directed my first short film about a drunken father who physically abused his son. (My father don’t drink it wasn’t about me) lol side note.

Also while in high school, I won first prize for a PBS competition, for which I directed a short documentary on the environment.  I also won a national PSA contest and was one of seven students from the country who attended UCLA for a week to study filmmaking and had the privilege to visit several movie studios.

culture clash std orig

CaribbeanFilm
If you were to pick an aspect of filmmaking – producing, writing, directing, cinematography, editing – which would be your favorite?

JRR
My two favorites aspect of filmmaking are directing and editing.  Directing captures my vision and editing brings my vision to life the way that I want it.  Writing is my least favorite because it takes too long for me to get what’s in my head on paper.

CaribbeanFilm
If you did not have to think about a budget, what film would you make and who would you cast as the lead actors? (ideal world question)

JRR
My epic film to make is about the Haitian revolution – how Haitians defeated the Europeans and freed the enslaved Africans.  Some of the actors I think could be Jimmy Jean-Louis, Don Cheadle, Danny Glover, Djimon Hounsou and some other Haitian actors I would cast.

CaribbeanFilm
Currently, there is a sort of awakening in the Caribbean to filmmaking as a form of artistic expression. Can you share with us your thoughts on what is currently happening and where you see this energy leading filmmakers?

JRR
The accessibility to new technologies have given Caribbean filmmakers like myself the opportunity to tell our own stories in the artistic expression that we feel compel to capture.  I’m excited about the future of Caribbean filmmaking.

CaribbeanFilm
Do you think there is a “Caribbean film aesthetic” being created as more and more films are being made?

culture clash 3 orig

JRR
I think there are multitudes of Caribbean film aesthetics.  I think we use our Caribbean landscape as the main aesthetic, which make our films distinctive. You get a feel for what part of the Caribbean the film was made.

CaribbeanFilm
And then some completely random questions: What is your fav film (or 2 or 3) all time? What did you enjoy about it the most?

JRR
My favorite film growing up was “The Power of One” starring Morgan Freeman, about apartheid in South Africa.  I enjoyed the music and I noticed how when we bond together we can achieve greatness.

CaribbeanFilm
What is your fav Caribbean film? What did you enjoy about it the most?

JRR
The Agronomist,” which deals with the life and assassination of Jean Dominique, a Haitian journalist and human rights activist.  It was simply powerful and captivating.

CaribbeanFilm
Is there a particular director’s work you admire?

JRR
Raoul Peck.  I admire his filmmaking activism.

raoul peck

 

 

 

Raoul Peck on IMDB

 

 

 

 


Watch “Culture Clash” now:

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