In 1937, Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated on the basis of anti-Black racism. In 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless – Elena and her family stand to lose their legal residency. Negotiating bureaucratic processes and a racist, hostile society, she becomes the face of the struggle to remain in a country built on the labor of her father and forefathers. Learn more about the making of the film and the filmmaker in our Beyond the Lens interview with Michèle Stephenson.
ELENA is now streaming on Facebook and YouTube. Explore more films from AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange on WORLD Channel.
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 compelling deeply personal stories in a variety of media that resonate beyond the margins. Her work has appeared on platforms including PBS, Showtime and MTV. Her film, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys including Best Documentary and Best News Coverage of a Contemporary Issue, and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. Promises Kept, written with Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work. Stephenson is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow.