Amidst the current furor over the inhumane treatment of refugees detained and families separated at the US/Mexico border, public attention has been diverted away from what is undeniably the largest-scale humanitarian crisis of this time: the plight of the millions fleeing civil war in Syria. Filmmaker Joshua Bennett offers an immersive look at the realities of these refugees in his documentary Sky and Ground, to be screened on Saturday afternoon, April 13, at noon at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.
Traveling on foot, the film crew accompanies the Nabi clan – a large Syrian/Kurdish extended family – as they painstakingly make their way from their home in Aleppo, bombed out by the war, to the Idomeni refugee camp on the border of Greece and Macedonia. Their goal is Berlin, where they will reunite with family members and seek asylum. But first they must make the arduous and dangerous 2,000-mile journey through Serbia, Hungary and Austria.
Following the noon screening on April 13, Bennett will join a panel discussion that also includes Lea Matheson, senior advisor on migration and humanitarian issues in the Office of the President at the UN; Vassar College professor Maria Höhn, co-founder of the Mid-Hudson Refugee Solidarity Alliance and part of the Consortium on Forced Displacement, Migration and Education; and Ahek Festuk, an activist from Aleppo, now living in New York, who was one of the pioneering women demonstrators against Bashar al-Assad.
The event is being presented for free, as part of Upstate Films’ Engage Film Series. Donations taken at the door ($10 suggested) will benefit Albany’s Refugee Welcome Corporation. For more information, visit https://upstatefilms.org/sky-and-ground.