"Yo No Soy Píchon" (working title) is a documentary narrative by the Toronto-based emerging filmmaker Esery Mondesir. The film explores the concepts of cultural identity, nationality and citizenship by following a group of Cubans of Haitian descent as they prepare for a vodou ceremony.
Sylvia Galdez, her son Dieuseul and her siblings left their native town of Santiago de Cuba eleven years ago to settle in a slum-like neighbourhood outside of Havana in search for a better life. Living precariously in the margin of the vibrant capital-city, the group's resilience is sustained by their rock solid cultural heritage passed onto them by their ancestors who fled Haitian political turmoil and poverty in the 1940's. While they have never set foot in Haiti, those “píchon de haitiano”, as they are derogatorily called by other Cubans, have proudly preserved the creole language and have made the vodou religion a place of resistance and survival.
“I am Haitian” retorts Estella as her twenty-something-years-younger-than-her lover refers to her as Pichon. But what does it mean to be Haitian, Cuban, Canadian or American?
As the Cuban government relaxes the rules to allow its citizen to travel abroad, visiting Haiti would be the ultimate dream-come-true for Sylvia and her family. What would their experience in Haiti be like? Would they be disappointed or enchanted by this country that has inhabited their dreams and their fantasy for so long?
“This is obviously a story close to my heart” says Esery Mondesir, the Haitian born director, “ but I also believe that a lot of us who have experienced migration and exile can relate to it as well” the Toronto-based filmmaker adds as he announces that a crowdfunding campaign will soon be initiated on indiegogo.com to support the production of this simple but humanely told story.
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