Ben Stiller and director Jonathan Demme, benefactors to the institute, along with journalist Michèle Montas—widow of Jean Dominique, a vocal opponent of the Duvalier dictatorships who started an independently funded radio station in support of Haitian rights (chronicled in the film The Agronomist, directed by Demme)—held a discussion after the screenings. “Ciné Institute proves that the ability to make films, to create cinema is something that’s in our DNA,” Demme said, “A big dream of Jean Dominique was a Haitian cinema. His thinking was that a place like Haiti deserves its own culture.”
There was a telling moment last night when Neil Young and filmmaker Jonathan Demme spoke to preview their latest concert film, Journeys. The theater projected a clip with Young playing "Ohio", footage that was intercut with footage of the Kent State shootings and photos of the four slain college students that inspired the song. Lopate watched the small monitor feed set in front for all three and Demme turned around in his seat to see the large projection the audience saw. Young looked down or in his hands – anywhere but at the footage.