Dir. Michèle Stephenson / USA, Canada, Dominican Republic, Haiti / 2020 / 97’ / Polish premiere
Director: Michèle Stephenson
Screenplay: Michèle Stephenson
Cinematography: Alfredo Alcántara, Tito Rodriguez, Naiti Gámez, Nadia Hallgren, Jaime Guerra, Pedro Arnau Bros Santana
Editing: Sophie Farkas-Bolla
Sound: Ryan Birnberg, Chris Guglick, Matt McKenzie
Music: Ben Fox
Producers: Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin, Michèle Stephenson
Production: Hispaniola Productions in co-production with: National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
World sales: National Film Board of Canada (NFB)
Language: Spanish, Haitian Creole
In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, based on anti-black hatred fomented by the Dominican government. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929. The ruling rendered more than 200,000 people stateless, without nationality, identity or a homeland. In this dangerous climate, a young attorney named Rosa Iris mounts a grassroots campaign, challenging electoral corruption and advocating for social justice. Director Michèle Stephenson traces the complex tributaries of history and present-day politics, as state-sanctioned racism seeps into mundane offices, living room meetings, and street protests.
Filmed with a chiaroscuro effect and richly imbued with elements of magical realism, “Stateless” combines gritty hidden-camera footage with the legend of a young woman fleeing brutal violence to flip the narrative axis, revealing the depths of institutionalized oppression.
FESTIVALS AND AWARDS
Tribeca Festival, Hot Docs (Special Jury Prize: Canadian Feature), Boston Latino International Film Festival (Audience Award: Best Feature Film), DOXA Documentary Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival (Best Feature Documentary), trinidad+tobago film festival, RIDM - Montreal International Documentary Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), NorthwestFest
As co-founding member of the Rada Film Group, filmmaker, artist, and author Michèle Stephenson draws from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and international experience as a human-rights attorney to tell provocative stories in a variety of media that speak to personal and systemic liberation. Her work has appeared on numerous broadcast and web platforms, including PBS, Showtime, and MTV. Her most recent film, “American Promise”, was nominated for three Emmy® Awards, including Best Documentary and Outstanding Coverage of a Current News Story. The film also won the Jury Prize at Sundance, and was selected for the New York Film Festival’s Main Slate Program. Stephenson was recently awarded the Creative Capital Fellowship and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, as well as the inaugural Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. She is also a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Her current feature-documentary work in progress is supported by the National Film Board of Canada and the Sundance Documentary Fund. Her community-engagement accomplishments include the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award for a Film with the Greatest Impact on Society and a Revere Award nomination from the Association of American Publishers. She is a fellow of the Skoll Stories of Change initiative and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Her recent book, “Promises Kept”, written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.