Poverty: Haiti Village Health by Robert Zuill explores the hardships in Haiti. *Photo supplied
Poverty: Haiti Village Health by Robert Zuill explores the hardships in Haiti. *Photo supplied

WEDNESDAY, APR. 11: Two Bermudian filmmakers’ films will be featured in the upcoming Bermuda Docs film festival from April 20 to 22.

Robert Zuill’s documentary Haiti Village Health follows the clinical services provided by the aid organization of the same name. Lucinda Spurling’s Hour of Victory covers the discovery of a bundle of letters from Major Toby Smith who lost his life in the battle of Overloon during WWI. Directed along with Andrew Kirkpatrick, the film is based on the book of the same title written  by Toby’s grandson Jonathan Smith. Both films are showing as part of the three-day film festival starting on Friday. 

Zuill and Spurling explained to the Bermuda Sun their films in their own words.

Robert Zuill

What is the film’s basic premise?

Haiti Village Health (HVH) was started by Tiffany Keenan who was an emergency room doctor here in Bermuda. It provides clinical services to Haitians who live along a remote coastline in rural Haiti. The Haitians in that area are very poor and have no basic services whatsoever including a total lack of clean water and sanitation.

Why did you decide on this subject matter?

I did this video in order to promote HVH.

How long have you been working on it?

Including the time spent in Haiti shooting and the time editing it probably took about three weeks.

Will it be shown elsewhere?

The film will be used extensively outside Bermuda to raise money for HVH.

You can find out more online at www.robertzuill.com. There will also be a fundraisier at BUEI on the evening of April 26. (Call BUEI for exact times details.)

Lucinda Spurling

Why did you decided to recreate this story in film?

When myself and Andrew (Kirkpatrick) undertook to create a film, we knew from the beginning that we would have to use recreations/ reenactments because in order for the audience to connect with the character of Toby Smith there had to be a screen persona. We were limited by budget and what was possible here, but we were able to film in the UK for the Yorkshire Moor poem Toby wrote to his wife, and also in the US for the battle scenes which end the film. The rest of the reenactments are filmed here at two major locations the family homestead, Cherry hill at Ord Rd in Warwick where Toby lived, Warwick Camp, The Aboretum, Perot Post Office, St. Peter’s Church, and a lot of days at Warwick Camp.

What went into the research?

I researched the film, of course by reading the book, all the letters, numerous times, but also by doing research into WWII, to understand the context of the times.

How long have you been working on it?

Jonathan and I first talked about the film a year and a half ago and we have been working on it as our major project since we finished Poverty in Paradise — exactly this time last year.

Who is featured in the film?

The film is a combination of interviews with war veteran George Fisher, author, Jennifer Hind, Major Toby Smith’s son, Anthony Smith and grandson and author of In the Hour of Victory, Jonathan Smith. Also there is archive footage from WWII, reenactments, stills and effects.

Will it be shown elsewhere?

Yes after its premiere at Bermuda Docs, we plan to do another screening open to the public on Saturday April 27th at 8pm at the BUEI, and abroad, and produce a DVD.

The full line up for the three day Bermuda Docs film festival is available online at www.bermudadocs.com. Here are the screenings for the locally-made films.
  • Hour of Victory will screen on Saturday, April 21 at 7pm.
  • Haiti Village Health will screen on Saturday, April 21 at 2pm (before the Island President).
Tickets go on sale today at www.bdatix.bm or call 232-2255. They are available from All Wrapped Up, Washington Mall, Hamilton or Fabulous Fashions, Heron Bay Plaza, Southampton or the Ocean Gift Shop at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. For more information on the festival visit www.bermudadocs.com. Tickets are $15 each and films will be screened at the BUEI.