Fiction Shelves

World Refugee Day Film Screening and Discussion

Tuesday, June 20, 2017, at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium

The Keene Public Library invites you to a screening of the movie "4.1 Miles" with a discussion with Becky Sakellariou.

On World Refugee Day, held every year on June 20th, we commemorate the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees. 

The Keene Public Library partners with PBS to present the POV Documentary Film Series. The majority of these films are screened at the library before they air on national television. Join us to watch the films and engage in a discussion about the film afterward. 

These events are in collaboration with POV, the award-winning independent non-fiction film series on PBS: POV (a cinema term for “point of view”) is television’s longest-running showcase for independent non-fiction films. POV premieres 14-16 of the best, boldest and most innovative programs every year on PBS. Since 1988, POV has presented over 400 films to public television audiences across the country. POV films are known for their intimacy, their unforgettable storytelling, and their timeliness, putting a human face on contemporary social issues.

Daphne Matziaraki's "4.1 Miles" follows local coast guard officers stationed off the Greek island of Lesbos, where thousands of migrants have braved the Mediterranean to flee conflicts at home. The coast guard once patrolled the tranquil waters of this small island but now finds itself overwhelmed by the task of saving hundreds from drowning at sea. Docks previously lined with restaurants have become makeshift first-response centers. As one migrant's body is carried out, an onlooker desperately yells, "The world needs to know what's happening here! We can't be going through this alone!" (TRAILER AND MORE AT PBS.ORG/POV/4POINT1MILES)

4.1 Miles was nominated for a 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The film received the International Documentary Association David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award, the Documentary Gold Medal in the 2016 Student Academy Awards and a 2016 Peabody Award.

Discussion moderator Becky Dennison Sakellariou has spent most of her adult life in Greece, although she was born and raised in New England. In the past three years, she has been active in many facets of the refugee crisis that is happening in Greece. Since the great migration of Syrian, Afghani, Pakistani, Iraqi, and other refugees making the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece ---and on to northern EU countries ---began over three years ago, Becky has worked as a volunteer in various Greek refugee camps, both transient and "permanent." There are now over 65,000 refugees "stuck" in Greece, living in about 40 camps scattered over the country, unable to continue on to other nations or go back home. Becky has become well acquainted with the politics, the circumstances, the problems and the movements of these people, and in particular, of their living situations.

These small organizations are the groups that take up the work slack and fill in the human gaps that the larger, more cumbersome charities such as UNHCR and the Red Cross cannot -- or will not. They are on the ground every day, know their "residents" and their daily, personal needs, and learn to make do and improvise with little or none at all governmental or NGO support or help. They are invaluable and essential to the difference between squalor and chaos and a semblance of order and hope. Becky has also done quite a bit of fundraising for these small NGOs, for specific needs and emergencies not covered by the government services: setting up women's spaces to utilizing the existing talents of the residents in keeping the camp communities running; to sorting, storing and distributing clothing donations and setting up little schools for the little ones (1/3 of all the refugees in Greece are children); to establishing kitchens for the migrants to cook their own foods together and creating systems to help the migrants to figure out their legal statuses.