Directed by Michèle Stephenson • Documentary • 2018 • 30 minutes
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.
Elena has lost her citizenship due to this ruling, 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 on time. Negotiating a mountain of opaque bureaucratic processes and a racist, hostile society, Elena becomes the face of the struggle to stay 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 fight to remain in the country they’ve called home for generations.
“Elena is a proud celebration of Haitian heritage in the Dominican Republic.” – HYPERALLERGIC