Battered by hurricanes, embroiled in political turmoil, plagued by kidnappings and largely ignored by the international community, Haiti is trying, yet again, to create democracy. As the Western hemisphere’s poorest country attempts to organize for November presidential elections, hardened veterans of its endless cycle of uprisings and downfalls are trading guns for voter registration cards, warily giving the election process their support.
In a character-driven narrative, we capture life on Haiti’s streets and among its power-brokers by interweaving five personal stories. We follow Patrick Fequière, one of nine Electoral Council officials, as he navigates faulty generators, citizens lacking identification papers, and countless other headaches of the voter registration process amidst rising violence. We go behind the scenes with the strongmen of the National Front for the Reconstruction of Haiti party, Butteur Métayer and Guy Philippe, former rebels who drove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power in 2004. As Métayer organizes his constituents in a region historically known to be an epicenter of revolution, Philippe is hitting the campaign trail in a bid for the presidency. In a one-room hovel in the polluted, poverty-stricken slums of Port-au-Prince, Elizna Nicholas is raising seven children as a single mother and becoming increasingly disillusioned by the unfulfilled promises of democracy. Upriver from her slum, businessman Serge Cantave valiantly lobbies to protect a state park from the ravages of illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture that endanger the country’s chances of economic recovery.
Through unfettered access to political strongmen, gangsters turned presidential hopefuls, and ordinary Haitian citizens, WIDE ANGLE reveals the country’s struggle to fashion a true representative government out of a volatile failed state.