A race against time, a time against race

Through the grassroots campaign of electoral hopeful Rosa Iris, director Michèle Stephenson's new documentary reveals the depths of racial hatred and institutionalized oppression that divide Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


In 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.

Michèle Stephenson's new documentary, 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. Anyone defending marginalized groups faces threats of violence. In this dangerous climate, a young attorney named Rosa Iris mounts a grassroots campaign, challenging electoral corruption and advocating for social justice. As Rosa balances her congressional run with her dedication to her family and community, the full scope of her fight is revealed.

Filmed in chiaroscuro colors, and shot through 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.

YEAR: 2020

DIRECTOR: Michèle Stephenson

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Joe Brewster, Anita Lee, Sudz Sutherland

PRODUCER: Michèle Stephenson, Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Alfredo Alcántara, Tito Rodriguez

EDITOR: Sophie Farkas-Bolla

CAST: Rosa Iris Diendomi-Álvarez, Teofilo Murat, Gladys Feliz

SUPPORTED BY: The National Film Board of Canada, Telefilm Canada, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Guggenheim Foundation.


The Rada Film Group is a media production company committed to creating compelling visual stories by, about and for communities of color that provoke thought and dialogue about our complex multicultural world and amplify voices and perspectives often neglected in dominant culture spaces. Keeping the art of storytelling and cinematic language front and center, Rada Film Group has created narrative films, documentaries and immersive media that challenge and inspire audiences across the world to think critically about their own place and roles in society.


As co-founder of the Rada Film Group, Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots and experience as a human rights attorney to tell provocative stories that speak to personal and systemic liberation. Her films have been nominated for three Emmys. Her collaborative series with NYT Op-Docs, "A Conversation on Race", won the 2016 Online Journalism Award for Commentary. She was recently awarded the Creative Capital Fellowship and the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her current projects include two nonfiction features and a series and a virtual reality time travel collaboration.