Sean Penn: I'm in Haiti for Life - NBC4 Washington

Sean Penn: I'm in Haiti for Life



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    Sean Penn speaks during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on "After the Earthquake: Empowering Haiti to Rebuild Better" in May.

    Hollywood humanitarian Sean Penn has ditched tinseltown and made a life-long pledge to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

    Penn founded the Haiti relief organization J/P HRO, which began providing medical aid and helping people relocate hours after a massive 7.0 quake reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble in January 2010. He’s been living and working there ever since.

    “There's no end point,” Penn told the Hollywood Reporter. “This is where I'll be when I'm not working, for the rest of my life.”

    And he will be working, by necessity if not for his love of film. The “I am Sam” star finalized his divorce from actress Robin Wright in July.

    "I had just got taken for half of everything I had in the divorce," he said. "So it's not like I don't have to work."

    The “Mystic River” star and film director will be honored with the Producer’s Guild 2011 Stanley Kramer award for shedding light on the devastation in Haiti. The award goes to a motion picture, producer, or individual that "illuminates a provocative social issue."

    Penn is the first individual to win the Kramer, which honored the global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006 and the Rwandan-genocide film “Hotel Rwanda” in 2004.

    He and his team oversee a camp in the once-affluent suburb of Petionville where 11,000 tarp-topped structures dot what used to be a nine-hour golf course.

    Penn said he belongs out there in the trenches at the J/P HRO camp, not in Malibu or Hollywood.

    “Let's face it,” the actor said. “I'm a person that feels pretty alienated from the rest of the world and never felt understood by anyone.”

    Selected Reading: New York Daily News, Hollywood Reporter, PopEater.