Beraza’s “Massacre River” to Screen at Hot Doc Pre-PBS

Beraza’s “Massacre River” to Screen at Hot Doc Pre-PBS

Since 2017, Suzan Beraza has nailed it as Festival Director of Mountainfilm. (Go here for ongoing coverage of the weekend. ) She is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker in her own right. In fact, her latest effort, “Massacre River,” about the crisis (and its victims) in Haiti and the Dominican Republic – will be premiering on the opening weekend of the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival next week. For the record, Hot Docs is consistently listed in the top 5 documentary festivals worldwide. “Massacre River” will be broadcast on PBS, most likely in late 2019 or early 2020. To finish up the work –  the doc’s sound track, color correction and sound mix – Beraza needs to raise an additional $22,000 in funding. Funders will be publicly thanked in the film credits on PBS. All donations are tax deductible through the 501 (c)(3) umbrella Telluride Institute. c/o Reel Thing Films, PO Box 2457, Telluride, CO 81435. Reel Thing can also accept donations through PayPal.

Please scroll down to watch the trailer for Beraza’s “Massacre River.” The doc is about some place far away – and right under your nose.

The headlines spell out in no uncertain terms how centuries of racism and fear have shaped the people of two proximate nations, echoing the current crisis at our own borders.

The anti-immigrant rhetoric in the media and in the streets should sound all too familiar: They rape. They murder. They steal “our” jobs. They exploit the laws of our nation.

Their biggest crime? They are not us.

They are The Other.

Per CNN:

“This isn’t about building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or deporting undocumented Central American immigrants. It’s an argument taking place 700 miles off the coast of Miami on the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti — two nations divided by history as much as a border.

“It’s an uneasy coexistence for countries whose intertwined histories of colonization, conquest and racism over the centuries have left deep wounds.

“In recent years, controversial court rulings and laws have renewed tensions in the Dominican Republic.

“Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent were stripped of their citizenship and forced to prove they were born here. Hundreds of thousands more who are undocumented immigrants have been forced to register with the government.

“In a political fight with arguments similar to the debate in the United States, the immigration hard-liners won. Last year I traveled across the Dominican Republic and Haiti to see the fallout from that battle. Among the people I met: A soccer player who left the Dominican national team because she couldn’t prove her nationality, a law student fighting for Haitians’ rights, and a woman who saw her town divided along racial lines.”

Beraza’s “Massacre River” tells that story through intimate portraits of some of the innocent victims of baseless prejudice.

The following is a synopsis:

Pikilina, from “Massacre River,” courtesy photo.

“Massacre River” is a character-driven documentary that takes place in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, two ethnically and culturally distinct countries that have been forced to share an island since colonial times. The film follows Pikilina, a Dominican-born woman of Haitian descent, and her family. Racial and political violence erupt when the country of her birth, the Dominican Republic, reverses its birthright citizenship law and she is left stateless, along with over 200,000 others. This sets Pikilina off on an epic journey as she struggles to regain her Dominican citizenship. Pikilina now faces the choice of fighting for her rightful citizenship and exposing herself to danger, or fleeing with her family to Haiti, a country she barely knows.

Susan Beraza, more:

Suzan Beraza, Festival Director, Mountainfilm & director of “Massacre River.”

Suzan is a Hispana-Latina-American filmmaker, born and raised in the Caribbean. Her films have shown on Independent Lens, PBS, Pivot TV and on the Documentary Channel, at Lincoln Center, and at many festivals. Her first film, BAG IT, won the Britdoc Impact Award in Berlin and has been televised in over 30 countries. Her most recent project, URANIUM DRIVE-IN, was a recipient of Sundance Institute and Chicken and Egg funding and was featured at Good Pitch and at Hot Docs Pitch Forum. The film received the Big Sky Award, was honored for documentary excellence by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and was part of the American Film Showcase, an international film program of the U.S. State Department. Suzan’s current project, MASSACRE RIVER is the recipient of ITVS funding and was selected for the Latino Media Market, Camden International Film Festival Points North Fellowship, and IFP Spotlight on Documentaries. She became Festival Director of Mountainfilm in Telluride, Colorado in 2017.

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