Coming to theatres today, Friday, February 6: CALL FOR HELP
Lior Etziony and Michal Hanuka’s candid look at a ragtag group of relief workers makes its debut at New York City’s Cinema Village this weekend.
The devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti drew the attention of the world. While many major nonprofit organizations descended on the island nation to assist in the relief efforts, the crisis also attracted the attention of unaffiliated individuals and unregistered groups, willing to jump into the trenches and help where larger forces might be stymied by bureaucracy. Etziony and Hanuka focus on a handful of such mavericks, who dub their makeshift NGO Global DIRT (Global Disaster Immediate Response Team). With the intention of assisting those Haitians who would otherwise slip through the cracks, Global DIRT, under the leadership of Adam, a young American Marine, his fellow soldier Sully, and student nurse Lauren, bends the rules to get supplies to those who seem in most need. Working with other young volunteers, including recovering alcoholic Like and photographer Stacey, the ramshackle group is followed as they answer the call to service – even if their methods are questionable and, arguably, might create more trouble than good, given a general lack of oversight and followup to the work that they do. While the filmmakers do an admirable job of fleshing out their subjects on the ground, exploring the various motivations – both practical and selfish – that led them to Haiti, the most intriguing element of the film, a self-reflexive follow up two years later, back in the States, is unfortunately given short shrift.