'Help Henry' documentary set to premiere in Sanford

Film documents Central Florida man's trip to Haiti to resolve residency issues

SANFORD, Fla. – Last year, News 6 told the story of a young man who was born in Haiti and brought to Central Florida when he was just 5 months old. But more than two decades later, he received an immigration letter because it seemed his paperwork for legal residency was not filed correctly, so he voluntarily returned to Haiti. 

What he never imagined is that it would take a year before his legal status would be defined. After the community of Sanford launched a campaign to bring him back, Henry Claude Dorvil is grateful to be back in the only place that's home to him: Central Florida.

"I'm just so excited to be back that I'm just kinda floating on a cloud right now," Dorvil said. 

Although Dorvil was born in Haiti, it was basically a foreign country to him.

His ordeal began in 2017 after being contacted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They said his parents didn't file the correct paperwork to sort out his immigration status, which prompted him to make the decision to leave the only country he knows and fly back to Haiti.

"I talked to my friends and my family every single day, 'cause that was the only thing I could do. I read a lot of books. I had people back in the states that sent me books and color books,"  the 25-year-old said.

It wasn't easy living there, he recalled.

"I didn't express how difficult it was to people because I didn't want people to worry. There was no electricity for the entire year, no running water, there was no indoor plumbing and you know, the country is still kinda upside down. The house I was staying in, we got robbed," Dorvil said.

From day one on the island, Dorvil documented pretty much every experience.

"I filmed everything. As soon as I got off the plane, everything," Dorvil said.

After realizing the impact Haiti had on him, Dorvil created "Help Henry the Documentary" with assistance from friends and producers. He said he decided to use this platform to thank the people in Sanford that helped while he lived there and those who continued to support him after he left.

Residents of Sanford sent more than 100 letters to Immigration and Customs authorities to help bring him back home.

"It's been a great experience. It's, uh, learning really a lot about what's going on in our country as far as immigration issue. What we're trying to do with the documentary, it brings it down to the personal level. It's the person next door that it's affecting. It is affecting the people that you know and you care about," Donald Tynes, a producer of the documentary, said.

Dorvil said he hopes the documentary has an impact on viewers.

"I just want more people to kinda see what's going on, you know, to understand that these are different issues a lot of immigrants face, but the big mission isn't -- this isn't an immigration movie, it's also about the support I was able to get from the community of Sanford. They always supported me. They always helped me grow. They mentored me, you know, I was always the little guy they kept under their wing," Dorvil said.

The premiere of "Help Henry the Documentary" is Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center in Sanford. 

To purchase tickets, go to helphenrythemovie.com.

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