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In 2016, the team presented international films, co-viewed as learning tools to support cross-cultural insights affording a softer landing for Syrian, Afghan, Kurdish, and Iraqi refugees who fled to Berlin. We learned that films from the adopted country can make landing in a new culture easier and even offer delight in a heavy time . This is one of the goals for in 2022 in support of Ukraine. traveled to Poznan, Poland in May 2022 to learn about the massive Polish efforts to care for displaced Ukrainian people. We confirmed the Caritas refugee welcome center as a location where could offer a screening for families, in addition to those who will tune in virtually from Poland, US and Germany.

In coordination with their teacher Mdm. Marzana Grabowska, two students from Kolonopki First High School in Suwalki, Poland took up the Film from the Knees challenge to capture the story of two of their new classmates from Ukraine. With initial prompts to engage first to help, then to learn, Luiza and Zosia, have captured stories of two sixteen year-olds and the beloved Polish language teacher who made them feel welcome. They will present part one of "Behind a New Life" as part of our exchange WATCH. LEARN. TOGETHER. on 25 and 26 June.

In Los Angeles, we took up's Shoot from the Knees challenge to capture views of American youth. This work will complement the empathy and solidarity at WATCH. LEARN. TOGETHER. on 25 and 26 June.

In addition to the short videos created in Suwalki and Los Angeles, we will show films from the rich Polish filmmaking heritage. A poll of about 25 Polish people taken in Poznan revealed some titles like that from Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz "In the Desert and In the Wilderness" but this was a feature film . Some said that after 1991 and the fall of Communism, they sought out "everything from the Disney."  The directors of the youth film financing conference in Sweden, M:brane, Lennart Strom and Annette Brejner agreed that Dorota Kedzierzawska's beautiful 1994 film "Wrony" would be a rich example of Polish film heritage for young audiences.  Sadly, there was no English or Ukrainian subtitled version. Through a warm exchange with Stanisław Bardadin at Wytwórnia Documentary and Film Studios, we found our way to several titles and a pair from beloved director Andrzej Wajda's School and Studio. We learned today that Andrzej Wajda was born in Suwalki!

On June 25 and 26 we will extend empathy and solidarity with Ukrainian families in Poland on and live at USC ORSL 835 - 34th Ave. Los Angeles 9am PST / 6pm CET. Click here for downloadable flyers 

Funds from this campaign will go directly to Caritas in Poznan, Poland and another soon-to-be-named charity in Suwalki, Poland.


Katy Kavanaugh
Portland, OR

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