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, the young protagonist of the film, and her family stand to lose their 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 around, 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 new documentary follows Elena and her family through their despair and small joys, as they struggle to remain in the country they’ve called home for generations.