St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church will sponsor a special screening of “Poto Mitan: Haitian Women, Pillars of the Global Economy” Monday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre, 163 High St., as a fundraiser for Haiti.

The film, produced last year by Tet Ansanm Productions, has been nominated for the Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the Best Documentary award at the Boston International Film Festival. Narrated by novelist Edwidge Danticat, the 50-minute film gives an inside perspective on globalization, Haiti’s current crisis and the resilient women challenging the system.

“Poto Mitan” (the Kreyol phrase means center post or pillar) provides interviews with Haitian NGO activists, scholars and government ministers, but its main focus is on the lives of five women: Marie Jeanne, a garment factory worker who toils to give her children the education she was denied; Solange, who lives and braves death in Cite Soleil, one of the capital’s worst slums; Frisline, who battles a male-dominated union until she joins a women’s organization; Helene, who was pushed off her own land by foreign agricultural policies; and Therese, whose ailments highlight the critical state of public health even before the earthquake.

Director/Producer Renee Bergan started researching her film in 2006. Over the next two years, she and co-producer Mark Schuller traveled across Haiti and into risky places and situations to document working conditions and Haitian realities. They used video spy cameras and even gave them to women to take into the factories.

“They both inspire and humble me and leave me wondering if under similar circumstances I could be as courageous,” said Bergan.

Tickets for the film are $10, and additional donations will be gratefully accepted. The IRS is allowing filers to deduct relief donations for Haiti made before March 1 on their 2009 tax returns.

All proceeds will go to Partners in Health, the medical mission founded in Haiti 23 years ago by Dr. Paul Farmer. Before the earthquake struck, Partners in Health already had more than 100 doctors, 600 nurses and 4,000 employees at 12 medical facilities across the country’s Central Plateau and the Lower Artibonite Valley. Since Jan. 12, PIH has expanded its force almost daily and now has 20 operating rooms up and running with 12 of them functioning 24 hours a day. As of last week, PIH had sent 66 plane loads with more than 210 medical volunteers including orthopedic surgeons and anesthesiologists and 150,000 pounds of medical supplies. To learn more about PIH’s work, visit

The Episcopal Church in Haiti has worked with Partners in Health from its beginnings at an Episcopal Church complex in Cange. St. Margaret’s congregation has been in partnership for several years with a congregation of the Haitian Episcopal Church, St. Etienne, in the town of Limonade near the Northern coast. Several members of the congregation hope to visit that parish as well as help with relief efforts generally later this year. For more information, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to