Many Dominicans of Haitian descent are facing harsh times since the conservative wing is pushing for a law which would have serious consequences for them: Denationalisation and deportation to Haiti.
Julio and Alejandro are born and raised in the Dominican Republic, they speak Dominican Spanish, they love the Dominican culture, they feel like Dominicans. Yet they are in danger of being expelled to Haiti, a country they have never seen, whose language they don't speak, whose culture they don't know.
About the Film
Santo Domingo. The old Toyota minibus is being loaded. It's a hot day and we sit tightly squeezed in the overcrowded vehicle, every inch is occupied. Between plantains and chickens even a barber chair finds its place. And still there’s a free seat in front of me. It turns out that no one wants to sit next to the Haitian man. A situation that symbolizes the tense relationship between Dominicans and Haitians.
After living and working in the Dominican Republic for a year, I have found myself several times in situations like these. I realized that there are many reasons for the difficult relationship between the two nations that are due to the colonial era, their common history and political circumstances. Or due to the fact that they share a small island in the Caribbean.
And that’s not easy when your neighbor is one of the least developed countries in the world. For this reason, millions of Haitians have left their country in search for a better life in the last decades.
2013 the situation suddenly changes for Dominicans with Haitian origin. According to a ruling of the Constitutional Court, all descendants of immigrants are to be denationalized. I had met those people that are now affected by the ruling a year earlier in the social project Café con Leche.
As the consequences of the political development became more apparent, Zoltan and I decided to document this topic, which was hardly known, while an upcoming refugee crisis was beoming a hot topic in Germany.
We could not count on a huge production team or financial resources. We only took our cameras and what we had at our disposal in order to realize our film. We rented an apartment in the middle of a barrio in Los Alcarrizos, Santo Domingo, which was to become our production office. Over there a friend lent us microphones and missing equipment - and like so our film team, consisting of two people, was complete.
From our apartment we were able to visit and shoot daily with Julio and Alejandro, the protagonists of our film. From Los Alcarizzos we then drove to every corner of the country to meet politicians, lawyers and activists.
This resulted in a documentary that is intended to depict the situation they way we saw it with our very own eyes. Listening to both parties of the conflict, we created a picture of the circumstances and, how in particular the young people are affected by the impending crisis. A documentary that does not state answers but rather raises questons and asks you to put things into context.