One evening in the summer of 2013 I got a call from my friends and fellow filmmakers; Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Jonathan David Kane, Keisha Rae Witherspoon, and Joey Daoud. They had an idea for a film that needed to be shot in Haiti that focused on a man that teaches machete fencing.
First, I laughed, but considering I knew Jason’s long standing interest with machetes and stories from Caribbean culture, I took him serious and began to learn about the story of Professor Alfred Avril. We started to pull references of other films we liked, ponder the potential logistics and how we could make this short documentary a possibility all without funding.
Real money or funding aside we pushed on, booked our tickets and here is our story:
Since boarding the plane for Haiti, we had a successful Kickstarter campaign after the completion of the film that led to the construction of a home for Mr. Avril, a world premiere at the TIFF Film Festival in 2014 and a U.S. premiere at Sundance’15.
This all started with a phone call and personally serves as a reminder the power of a good story, collaboration, and not stopping because of the fear of failure.