In honor of Black History Month, we’re recognizing the economic, cultural, political, and social contributions of notable black immigrants and refugees who’ve helped shape the vibrant tapestry of America. Today we recognize Guetty Felin, a Haitian-American documentary filmmaker and curator who gained international accolades for her trailblazing work documenting the harsh realities of Haiti’s post-earthquake landscape.
Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Guetty Felin immigrated to the U.S. and was raised in New York. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree while attending the University of Paris School of Cinema, where she developed her cinematic vision. Her career focuses on difficult themes such as exile, foreignness, and the search for a home. Her work often highlights a global connection between cultures. She’s developed an eclectic resume in the film and television industry in the U.S., Europe, and Haiti.
Felin’s 2012 documentary, Broken Stones, was lauded internationally for chronicling Haitian’s struggle to maintain social connections following the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the country’s capital. The disaster took the lives of 220,000 Haitians. She is the first female director to shoot a feature-length film entirely in Haiti with her 2016 drama film, Ayiti Mon Amour. The film was selected as Haiti’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, marking the first time Haiti ever sent a film for consideration.
In 2004, Felin helped launch Jakmèl, Haiti’s annual international film festival that features screenings, concerts, and celebrations attended by over 50,000 people from around the globe. She also created Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school. Felin launched BelleMoon Productions, a California-based production company that has produced and collaborated on over 30 films and other projects for theatrical release. In 2014, the Women’s Film Institute honored Felin as one of the most vital figures in film, television, and media in the San Francisco Bay Area.