Events

States of Migration Film Series



Elena

Photos: Provided by the filmmaker
Title:

Elena

Release Date: 2021
Runtime: 30 minutes
Director: Michèle Stephenson
Languages: Spanish with English subtitles
Countries: Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama
Synopsis: In 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army, on the basis of anti-black racism. Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless. Because of this ruling, Elena has lost her citizenship, and her family stands to lose their rightful access to legal residency in the Dominican Republic if they don’t manage to get their documents in time. Negotiating a mountain of opaque bureaucratic processes and a racist, hostile society, Elena becomes the face of the struggle to remain in a country built on the labor of her father and forefathers. Director Michèle Stephenson’s documentary follows Elena and her family through their tribulations and small joys, as they struggle to remain in the country they’ve called home for generations.

Stateless

Photos: Provided by the filmmaker
Title:

Stateless

Release Date: 2020
Runtime: 96 minutes
Director: Michèle Stephenson
Languages: Spanish and Hatian Kreyòl with English subtitles
Countries: Haiti, Dominican Republic, Panama
Synopsis: The Dominican Republic’s 2013 Supreme Court ruling stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, rendering 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’s documentary traces the complex tributaries of history and present-day politics, as state-sanctioned racism seeps into mundane offices, living room meetings, and street protests. At a time when extremist ideologies are gaining momentum in the U.S. and around the world, STATELESS is a warning of what can happen in a society when racism runs rampant in the government. Filmed with a chiaroscuro effect and richly imbued with elements of magical realism, StatelessSTATELEScombines 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.
Director Bio: Filmmaker, artist and author Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces. She tells compelling, deeply personal stories that are created by, for and about communities of color that reimagine and provoke. She is a three-time Emmy Award nominee and winner of Tribeca and Sundance Festival Jury Prizes and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Her book, Promises Kept, written with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Stephenson is also a Guggenheim Fellow and a Creative Capital artist.

Week Four
December 3-6

The Hemispheric Institute presents the States of Migration Film Series


This series of powerful short and feature films, curated by the Hemispheric Institute, seeks to center stories of migration and expulsion from the Americas. These are tales of harrowing journeys, desperate measures, deep solidarities, and courageous political action. Through these stories, filmmakers reveal not only the degradations perpetrated by nation-states and their border regimes, but also the tenacity of people who imagine life beyond their reality.


About this film series

Free screenings are available each week Friday through Monday, from November 12 – December 13, 2021.

About HemiTV

HemiTV is the Hemispheric Institute’s portal for live streaming and virtual programming, developed for the Zoom era and beyond.