A film by Patrick ShenA Haitian Princeton janitor returns to his country after the devastating 2010 earthquake
A film by Patrick Shen
Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Crash), in what The Washington Post calls an "artfully shot documentary," La Source tells the uplifting story of Josue Lajuenesse, a Haitian Princeton janitor who returns to his country after the devastating 2010 earthquake to revive his lifelong dream to bring what is most fundamental to his village's survival; clean water.
In La Source (pronounced lah-soos), Haiti water does not come easily. Each day, villagers of this small, rural community must choose between enduring a long, treacherous walk to retrieve clean water or drink contaminated water from a nearby river. For over 30 years, the villagers have attempted to address this problem by constructing a means of channeling the water from a natural spring in the mountains, but with limited funding and an unsupportive government their attempts to provide clean water were to no avail.
Since he was a teenager, Josue Lajeunesse, along with his brother Chrismedonne have dreamt of remedying this problem for their people. In 1989, Josue moved from La Source to New Jersey where he found employment as a custodian at Princeton University. His custodial work and second job as a taxi driver, which total close to 20 hours a day, allows him to send money home to La Source so that he and Chrismedonne, a bricklayer in La Source, could work on channeling the water from the mountain into their village.
First introduced to audiences in Director Patrick Shen’s critically-acclaimed and multiple awardwinning documentary, The Philosopher Kings, Josue Lajeunesse has inspired thousands through his story of selflessness and resilience. Since the sold-out premiere screenings of The Philosopher Kings at AFI-Discovery Channel’s Silverdocs Film Festival in 2009, audiences everywhere have rallied around Josue and donated to his cause of completing a fresh water system for the inhabitants of La Source. “It was at our Silverdocs Q&A that I had the realization that my involvement with Josue’s story was far from over,” says Shen. “The first hand that went up led to a whole discussion about how others could get involved with Josue and his efforts to bring water to La Source and that became a recurring thing at every screening of the film.” Amidst all of this, a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti in 2010 and sent the country into a tailspin while the rest of the globe sprung into action to come to its aid. Meanwhile for Shen and his team, what began as a humanitarian endeavor to help Josue, quickly evolved into a new follow up film about Josue, his return to Haiti for the first time post-earthquake, and his decades-long struggle to save the people of his village. “We were unsure as to whether or not this would become a film someday. We just knew something powerful and amazing was happening.”
“Some documentaries just make you feel good about the world and the people in it and 'La Source' is definitely one of those."
-Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times
"Patrick Shen's artfully shot documentary.."
-Stephanie Murrey, Washington Post
"Directed by Patrick Shen and narrated by the lovely Don Cheadle with music scored by Sigur Ros, LaSource is cut from exceptional talent."
“A really beautiful movie that I could totally see getting into the conversation around Oscar time.”
“Fascinating and affecting.”
-Steve Pond, The Wrap
“an uplifting story of humanitarianism and development stemming from the local level."
"(★★★★) 'La Source" is a real life fairytale, where a once hopeless romantic ideal catches fire and ultimately, the dream comes true."
"I’ve seen this movie twice, and there were tears and cheers both times."
-Dan Schindel, Current Movie Reviews
"This film offers terrific images that allude to internal states, loneliness and worry, resolve and poise."-Cynthia Fuchs, PopMatters
"...one has to be the most dedicated of cynics to remain unmoved.."
-Scott Wold, Paste Magazine