Interview, by Rafy Mediavilla, w/ “Stateless” Writer & Director Michèle Stephenson. #Stateless #Tribeca2021 #TribecaFilmFestival
Providing sociopolitical insights that are at once deeply personal and powerfully far-reaching, Stateless reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression dividing two nations tasked with sharing one small island at a moment when the Dominican Republic is raising funds to build a border wall, echoing recent policies in the United States.
The film’s historical foundation rests on the 1937 extermination of tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent by the Dominican army, an action realized due to anti-black hatred itself perpetuated and fomented by the Dominican government. Fast-forward to 2013 and the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court has stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, effectively rendering more than 200,000 people stateless.