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Study abroad film festival winner announced

Zeke Winitsky and his film "Coming to Berlin" have been named Grand Prize winners of the 8th Annual Study Abroad Film Festival, Photo: IES Abroad

Winitsky studied abroad in Berlin with IES Abroad in the summer as part of his program at Penn State

Winitsky studied abroad in Berlin with IES Abroad in the summer as part of his program at Penn State University, and created the film which aims to link the past to the present through landscape and examine his own heritage.

“’Coming to Berlin’ is a film that was experienced as much as it was made,” Winitsky said.

“Being the descendant of a Holocaust survivor, spending time in Germany was complicated. There were moments when I felt a sense of closure and almost forgiveness, but also moments of guilt and conflict.

“In making this film, I meditated on my role as a Jew in America and in Europe. I wanted to illustrate my inner conflict and bring my personal dilemma to life,” he added.

“In making this film, I meditated on my role as a Jew in America and in Europe”

IES Abroad rolled out the red carpet on October 12 for their film festival at VenueSIX10 in downtown Chicago, in support of their needs-based scholarship program.


Prominent directors, editors, producers, and screenwriters from across the film industry joined IES Abroad alumni and faculty members from IES Abroad’s international centres to review the finalists’ films.

“The IES Abroad Film Festival gives students a platform to share their authentic, life-changing, global experiences through their own voices,” said Amy Ruhter McMillan, senior associate VP of marketing and founder of the IES Abroad Study Abroad Film Festival.

“This is the first film festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, and it is difficult to put into words how meaningful that is for us as an organisation and for our students. This year’s finalists capture the spirit of study abroad and its importance better than we could have imagined.

“The fact that we get to host our festival in person again and share the night with our student finalists, staff, schools, alumni, donors, friends, and family is momentous,” she added.

In addition to seeking to promote awareness about the powerful impact of study abroad, the festival offered attendees the chance to engage with students, alumni, and the local film and entertainment communities.

IES Abroad has raised nearly $100,000 for need-based scholarships through the IES Abroad Film Festival, and over the past eight years, it has received 500+ student film submissions documenting the various international study abroad and internship programs offered at 160 colleges and universities.

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