English (Available subtitled in English)
Region: Ontario and Nunavut
In 2013 the Supreme Court of the Dominican Republic (DR) upheld legislation that stripped citizenship from individuals of Haitian heritage born in that country.
Hispaniola is a feature documentary that will take audiences on a cinematic journey through the day-to-day lives of people directly impacted by these new laws. There is Elena Lorac, a young Dominican of Haitian descent whose fall into statelessness has rendered her invisible, forced to function below the radar and avoid confrontation when attacked because of her ancestry; then there is Juan Tcheofilo Murat, a Dominican of Haitian decent who had all his citizenship documents in order, but nevertheless he was expelled from the country of his birth. Bitterly angry over his stateless situation, Juan is determined to make a new life for himself in Haiti. The only problem is his wife and family have been left behind to fend for themselves; Rosa Iris Diendomi is a recent law school grad and a Dominican with an Haitian father.
Although her status is secure, Rosa is determined to represent her people from the Bateys gain their citizenship. She continuously receives death threats, including visits from strangers who follow her and threaten her family; and contrasting these characters is Dr Gladys Feliz, a warm middle-aged grandmother with a proud Dominican ancestry. Her sweet appearance belies her complete dedication to the goal of removing Haitians and their descendants from her country
Interweaving their present-day stories with dramatic personal accounts of the 1937 Parsley Massacre (over 20,000 Haitians killed at the hands of Dominican soldiers), the film will beautifully juxtapose how past and present converge as it explores themes of genocide and otherness.
Hispaniola hopes to provide audiences with a spellbinding visual narrative that reflects on the larger questions of how imposed borders, citizenship and racial identity define us and may seal our fate.
Coproduction Partner(s): National Film Board of Canada
Cast/Participants: Rosa Iris Diendomi-Álvarez, Teofilo Murat, Gladys Feliz