As an American-born Haitian, I originally wanted my first feature film to be in Haiti. It was supposed to be a raw street drama about the Haitian dream. I began to write the treatment for the movie, and I wanted to direct it during the summer of 2010. But the idea of shooting my film in Haiti was shattered after a 7.0 earthquake devastated the country. National buildings were destroyed, homes turned into dust and under the debris laid men, women and children, who couldn't escape what the resilient people of Haiti could only describe as fate.
Thankfully my family survived the destruction. Their houses were ruined, but they were grateful that they could create a home in the tent housing that the UN provided. After I finally got in touch with my family, they discouraged the idea of making a film in Haiti. They didn't want me to represent the country in the way that it was. I listened to them, but I was still itching to make a film. Filmmaking has always been my passion, and at 25 years old I couldn't wait any longer. My first feature film, Kaleb, grew out of this strong desire to make movies.
The inception of Kaleb developed when I worked as a gaffer on a small indie film. On that set, I met most of the crew that would later help me create my first feature. I was extremely motivated by these young and hungry individuals. I knew then and there in order to make my film I would need this crew. Ideas for Kaleb were budding quickly in my brain, and after each 14-hour day on set I would go home and work on the treatment. After we wrapped the shoot, I began writing the screenplay for Kaleb. Although a fan of mainstream cinema, I wanted to write something unconventional, unstructured, unafraid and unapologetic, something raw but rich in spirit. It was going to be a film about the world we live in. Kaleb needed to be simple while complex in character.
After completing the screenplay, it turned out to be everything that I wanted it to be. And with the backing of a young enthusiastic cast and crew, we began to shoot Kaleb. We battled everyday to complete a feature film. We had some good hours and we had some bad hours. We had some great days and we had some horrible days, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. We went to war, and in the end we were victorious. The film is a manifestation of my dreams and a testimonial of my upbringing as a Haitian, seventh day Adventist. The film reminds us of what’s most important: Family.