An Oscar Award-winning director's film, titled "Haiti: Dreams of Democracy," will have a special Gloucester screening Monday at Cape Ann Community Cinema.
This event is to honor a late Gloucester resident, Haiti activist Elise Hansen, and to benefit a new foundation to promote social change.
The documentary by Jonathan Demme, who won the Academy Award for Best Director for "The Silence of the Lambs," was produced in 1987 as Haitians celebrated the first anniversary of the overthrow of the dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
Hansen, a graduate of Gloucester High School and the Art Institute of Boston, turned her life toward helping others after working for Boston-based Partners for Health, cofounded by Dr. Paul Farmer to provide medical services in Haiti, which is among the world's most impoverished nations. Much of her adult life was framed by the principles found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Hansen, who died in a West Coast automobile accident last February at age 45, was the U.S. coordinator for Konpay, a nonprofit organization established in 2004 to help Haiti citizens, who suffered most recently in the 2010 earthquake.
The film screening is being sponsored by the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church and Cape Ann Forum, with proceeds to benefit the Elise Hansen Foundation, which supports teens and young adults seeking to explore and promote environmental and social justice programs and careers.
The foundation is being established by Hansen's fiance, Scott Southard, in the spirit of Konpay. The foundation's mission is "to help citizens see that they can make change happen," he said.
"People around the world are no longer sitting idly waiting for change to happen," Southard said in a prepared statement. "They are beginning to see that change can happen and that they can make it happen. It is especially important that young adults, who are learning the skills of making change happen, be given the opportunity to become change agents."
Demme's documentary, "Haiti: Dreams of Democracy," was produced for television by Demme and British documentary director Jo Menell; they adapted folklore and indigenous rap music to deliver an impressionistic story of how the Caribbean island nation survived 30 years of repression under the Duvalier regime.
The screening takes place Monday at 7 p.m. at the cinema at 21 Main St. in downtown Gloucester. There is a suggested donation of $15.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3464, or email@example.com
If you go
What: Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church hosts a benefit screening of "Haiti: Dreams of Democracy."
When: 7 p.m., Monday, June 4.
Where: Cape Ann Community Cinema, 21 Main St., Gloucester.
How much: Suggested donation is $15; proceeds benefit the Elise Hansen Foundation, which promotes social change.