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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Poly screens “A Step Without Feet” and hosts co-director Jeremy Glaholt

On Monday, Feb. 12, the Global Initiatives Program screened Jeremy Glaholt and Lydia Schamschula’s 2020 documentary, “A Step Without Feet,” which shares the experiences of Syrian refugees living in Berlin. The film explores themes of art, home and community.

In Aug. 2015, Angela Merkel, then Chancellor of Germany, pledged that Germany would welcome one million Syrian, Afghani and Iraqi refugees. Inspired by the unique lives and stories of these individuals, Glaholt and Schamschula decided to focus on seven courageous Syrian refugees and their experiences adjusting to life in Berlin.

To kick off the event, senior Hadi Ammar, a GIP Global Scholar, introduced the film and Glaholt, the co-director and cinematographer. Following the film’s screening, senior Brandon Chui, another Global Scholar, facilitated a Q&A discussion with Glaholt.

“It’s an important time to recognize that there are millions of people that are displaced somewhere in the world,” shared Upper School Visual Arts teacher Adam Feldmeth, who helped organize the event and will lead the 2024 Global Initiatives Program trip to Berlin this June.

Referring to the seven Syrian interviewees as “protagonists,” Glaholt highlighted their diverse art and writing. Anis Hamdoun, one of the protagonists, was a writer and theater director, and Glaholt displayed videos of him at work. In the film, he also included clips that showcased the warm, tight-knit communities of Syrian immigrants, such as ones where they were all listening to Syrian music and enjoying traditional Syrian foods.

Ammar particularly appreciated these scenes in the film. He stated, “I can see a connection to that in my life because my parents were refugees, and I see how they’ve formed their own communities with people like them.”

For Chui, “A Step Without Feet” provided new perspectives on the idea of freedom, which the interviewees, including Hamdoun, defined in different ways during the documentary.

“I took freedom for granted,” said Chui. “It’s something that I’ve had since I was born. But for [Hamdoun], it’s something he’s had to fight for.”

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