Cummings Arts Center’s Evans Hall screened the 2016 documentary Salam Neighbor on Feb. 4. Salam Neighbor features Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci, two American filmmakers who lived among 85,000 Syrian refugees at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan for a month. The film focuses on the lives of refugees, whose stories get lost amid the torrent of news headlines. It is thus a highly moving film that shows the everyday struggles of individuals who have had to leave their homes and, in many cases, family members, because of the internecine conflict of the Syrian Civil War. The film shows us that due to this conflict, many people have lost loved ones and are struggling to rebuild their existences. Despite the hardship they experience, many of the individuals and families featured show resilience in the face of immense turmoil and difficulty.
The screening was free and open to the public, but attendees were given the opportunity to make donations supporting refugee families escaping conflicts in the Middle East to settle in the New London area. The event featured a discussion and question and answer session following the screening and was sponsored by Connecticut College’s Committee on Refugee Relief and Education and Start Fresh, a local non-profit refugee resettlement team. Not only did the screening and discussion of Salam Neighbor provide the Conn community with an easy opportunity to learn about the harsh circumstances that thousands of people worldwide face daily, but it also helped connect Conn students to local residents and organizing efforts. •