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'AfroPoP' Special Brings Plight of Haitian Deportees To Public TV
4/28/2014 11:03:50 AM

NEW YORK -"AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange," the innovative documentary series of independent films on contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora, returns to WORLD Channel during Caribbean Heritage Month with a special on the sad plight of legal immigrants deported to Haiti from the U.S. for legal infractions.

"Deported," by Rachèle Magloire and Chantal Regnault, makes its U.S. television premiere on Sunday, June 8, at 9pm ET/8pm CT/7pm MT/6pm PT. "AfroPoP" is hosted by acclaimed actor Anthony Mackie, produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), and co-presented by American Public Television (APT).

Since 1996 and 2002, respectively-barring a one-year respite following the deadly Haitian earthquake of January 2010-the United States and Canada have each implemented a policy of repatriation of all foreign residents who have committed crimes on their soil. These infractions range from violent crimes to convictions for such offenses as driving while intoxicated or petty theft. "Deported" follows seven of these North American offenders as they return to Haiti for the first time since leaving as children to face an unfamiliar and hostile homeland.

The film exposes the heavy burden facing Caribbean and Latin American countries due to the forced "migration" of these immigrants-who often have no family ties and no support system in the new environment to help them re-integrate into society.

"With many deportees to Haiti having no family members there or knowledge of the native language and sometimes even being homeless, they often fight for barest survival," said Magloire and Regnault, who followed the deportees for three years while capturing the anguish, anxiety and regret of their families left behind in North America. "We felt we needed to turn a spotlight on this practice as well as to educate young immigrants to the especially stiff penalties they can face for sometimes minor violations."

"When immigration hits the headlines, rarely are people of African descent being discussed, yet U.S. immigration policies are affecting increasingly diverse black communities-a fact that is often overlooked both in the black community and on the national scene," said NBPC Vice President and Director of Programming Leslie Fields-Cruz, who is also co-executive producer of "AfroPoP." "We hope to shed light on often-forgotten people and on issues that should be a central part of the conversation on immigration."

NBPC will also offer additional online programming in June surrounding the special. A series of Caribbean shorts will screen on NBPC's website, The first two shorts, together with "Deported," are part of a three-part examination of immigration from the Afro-Caribbean perspective. These films include Kareem Mortimer's "Passage," in which a Haitian woman and her brother are smuggled on a fishing vessel to the Bahamas (June 2); and Lisa Harewood's "Auntie," which focuses on an often ignored side effect of migration: the disruption and heartache in the lives and relationships of the people left behind (June 16). On June 23 "Vivre," by Maharaki, will screen. In this short, a teacher asks her class what they want to do when they grow up; while his classmates happily respond, Tom, a quiet 10-year-old boy, slips away. Rounding out the program on June 30 will be the documentary short "Small Man" by Mariel Brown, which follows an ordinary man of modest means who creates models, dollhouses and more in a small workshop in his home.

Along with WORLD Channel airings, APT will distribute "AfroPoP" to local public television stations nationwide in June 2014.


Anthony Mackie is an American television, feature film and stage actor. A graduate of the Juilliard School's Drama Division, Mackie was first discovered playing the role of Tupac Shakur in the off-Broadway production "Up Against the Wind." Shortly thereafter, he made an auspicious film debut as Eminem's nemesis, Papa Doc, in Curtis Hanson's "8 Mile." His performance caught the attention of Spike Lee, who cast Mackie in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival's Masters program selections "Sucker Free City" and "She Hate Me." He also appeared in Clint Eastwood's Academy Award-winning "Million Dollar Baby," opposite Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman, and Eastwood. Additional film roles include "We Are Marshall"; "Half Nelson," with Ryan Gosling; "Night Catches Us," opposite Kerry Washington; "The Adjustment Bureau," which also featured Matt Damon and Emily Blunt; "Real Steel," with Hugh Jackman; "Gangster Squad," where he shared the screen with Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling; "Pain & Gain," with co-stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson; and "Runner, Runner," alongside Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton. Mackie earned IFP Spirit Award nominations for his performances in Rodney Evans' "Brother to Brother" and Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker."

His theatrical credits on and off Broadway include "Drowning Crow," "McReele," "A Soldier's Play," and "A Behanding in Spokane." Earlier, his Broadway debut was as the stuttering nephew, Sylvester, alongside Whoopi Goldberg in August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." He won an Obie Award for his role in Carl Hancock Rux's "Talk."

Mackie recently joined the Marvel Comics family playing Sam Wilson/the Falcon in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," released in April.


By Rachèle Magloire and Chantal Regnault
Every two weeks, about 50 Haitian nationals are deported from the United States; 40 percent are convicted legal residents who completed their jail sentence in America. To a lesser extent, Canada applies a similar policy. Through the portraits and interviews of four deportees in Haiti and their families in North America unfold the tragedy of broken lives, forced separation from American children and spouses, alienation and stigmatization endured in a country they don't know and don't understand, since most of them left at a very early age. English is their language and North American culture their reference. They experience deportation as a cruel and unusual punishment and are longing for home. Most will fail to reintegrate in a poor and battered country that has so little to offer them. The subject matter goes far beyond the borders of Haiti and addresses the global issue of migratory policies.

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