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Stateless | Apátrida

Producers Michèle Stephenson, Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin


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. Stateless 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

About The Team

Michèle Stephenson (Director) is a co-founding member of the Rada Film Group, and is a filmmaker, artist and author. Stephenson, pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tell compelling, deeply personal stories in a variety of media that resonate and push beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on a variety of broadcast and web platforms, including, TED Talks, PBS, Showtime and MTV. Stephenson is a recipient of a Guggenheim and Sundance Skoll Stories of Change Fellowships. Her film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and also won the Jury Prize at Sundance. Recognition for her work also includes the Chicken & Egg Pictures Filmmaker Breakthrough Award and the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award for a Film with the Greatest Impact on Society was awarded for her community engagement accomplishments. Stephenson’s recent book, Promises Kept, written along with co-authors Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work.

Jennifer Holness (Producer) has earned credits and awards that span a wide variety of scripted and documentary work for film and television. Her writing and producing credits include: Speakers For The Dead (CBC); Badge of Pride (CBC & PBS); Brick By Brick (Omni); Yin Yin Jade Love (TVO); Dolores: Art of An Art Modeling (Bravo!); Home Again; Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones; Guns (CBC miniseries); She’s the Mayor (Vision TV); Shoot the Messenger (CBC). Her work has garnered top honors including, Canadian Academy Screen Awards, PAFF– BAFTA Festival Choice Award, Best First Canadian Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival, and a nomination from Director’s Guild of Canada for Best Directing.

Lea Marin (Producer) is an award-winning Toronto-based producer with more than 18 years’ experience. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Producers’ Lab, Lea joined the National Film Board of Canada as a producer in 2006. Her most recent film credits include Astra Taylor’s What Is Democracy?, which premiered at TIFF in 2018, and Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses, which won the  Best Canadian Feature Award at Hot Docs 2017. Other credits include Chelsea McMullan’s My Prairie Home and The Portrait, directed by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Hubert Davis. Lea is currently in production on Throat, a co-collaboration between Chelsea McMullan and artist/activist Tanya Tagaq.

Joe Brewster (Executive Producer) is a Producer and Director and a Harvard trained psychiatrist who uses his psychological training as the foundation in approaching the social issues he tackles as a filmmaker. Brewster, in conjunction with his Rada Film Group co-founder, Michèle Stephenson, has created stories using installation, narrative, documentary and print mediums that have garnered support from critics and audiences internationally. He is a recipient of fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Film Institute, BAVC and the MacArthur Foundation. Brewster is a Spirit Award and three-time Emmy Award nominee. His recent documentary film American Promise was awarded the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking at Sundance and the African American Film Critics’ Association Award. Brewster’s outreach accomplishments include a Revere Award, NAACP Image Award for the best selling companion book Promises Kept, and a BritDoc Prize for developing one of the most innovative outreach campaigns in 2014.

Stateless | Apátrida is a Cinereach grantee.