When Bryn Mooser and David Darg were working in tent camps in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, they decided to make a documentary about the little league baseball team they helped start there. But then things changed: a cholera outbreak swept the country, and evidence began to emerge that the outbreak may have been caused by run-off from a United Nations latrine.
Once the story of the UN's possible involvement emerged, the focus of the documentary shifted. Mooser and Darg were working in Cholera camps, and Mooser says "we were watching so much death and suffering during the day and playing baseball in the evening to help us get our minds off the tragedy". The two stories collided, leading them to make the half-hour documentary 'Baseball In The Time Of Cholera'. You can watch the full film below:
The doc tells two intersecting stories: one is about Joseph Alvyns, a young man who befriended Mooser and Darg a few months after the earthquake and helped them start the little league team that was the original focus of the doc (George met Joseph when he was in Toronto to throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays game). The other is the tale of a Haitian lawyer trying to win compensation for cholera victims - over 5,000 Haitians are attempting to sue the UN, requesting compensation and constructive action. The tragic loss of a member of Joseph's family shows the painful human cost of the epidemic.
'Baseball In The Time Of Cholera' premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Mention in the Best Documentary Short category. It has now been released online for free viewing, a decision the filmmakers say "was the only option for this film. The message must be seen by as many people as possible, because the situation is urgent".
So far, it has been viewed almost 70,000 times on YouTube. And the film's had help from some prominent celebrities: both Kim Kardashian and Rainn Wilson from 'The Office' have encouraged their followers to watch and share the movie. One of the executive producers is also a well-known actor - Olivia Wilde helped get the film made, an experience she told us about recently. The filmmakers are also encouraging people who agree with the doc's message to tweet @UN and include the handle @Cholera and the hashtag #undeny.
As of now, the UN has not issued any response to the film, and officials "shy away from taking full blame or issuing an apology", according to the BBC. Mooser says the filmmakers are "disappointed that they have not responded or sent out a press release on the film". The film's goal is to pressure the UN to bring more aid to Haitians suffering from cholera: "we are hoping that [the UN] will take some of their huge budget for peacekeeping (800 million dollars) and spend some of it on lifesaving clean water".
There is a petition on the UNdeny website with "thousands of names", according to Mooser, and the plan is to "present that petition to the UN in the coming months". The filmmakers have teamed up with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti to pressure the UN into taking responsibility for the cholera outbreak. Meanwhile, more than 100 Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives have called on the UN to take responsibility for introducing cholera to Haiti. Over 7,000 Haitians have died from the disease to date.
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