About the Film

Winner - CENFLO  Winner - Eugene  Winner - Columbus 

Official Selection - Philadelphia  Official Selection - SENE  Official Selection - S.U.R.G.E.  Official Selection - Winnipeg

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL is a tale of opposing forces: evil and redemption, despair and hope, memory and discovery. It is also a testament to the power of personal witness and the possibility of human endurance and change.

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL chronicles the journey of twelve American high school students as they trace life experiences and formative places of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Photo and film images of the Nobel Peace Prize winner give context and weight to the student experience. Two parallel stories, woven together through time and history, collide as these young people come face to face with evil and redemption. The film is both magical and painful; surreal in its majestic cinematography, and more than real in the ugliness of which man is capable. “What happens when you take the childhood from the child, the love from the lovers, and peace from the person who strives for harmony above all things?” asks one student in her journal.

Audiences have a unique window into the thought process of our students as they share their journal entries and profound insights that accompany the coming of age. “Teenagers have more power than adults give us credit for!” Over the course of their journey, the students begin to realize that it is up to them to create a more just and humane world. Their footsteps become our footsteps.

Project History

Students asked the question, “How can we have an all-inclusive perspective if we have never left the USA?” In 2006, The Echo Foundation responded by creating the Footsteps Global Initiative, a study, travel and leadership program. In its inaugural year, the program’s focus was IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL, which in turn, sparked the vision for the documentary film.

Student Ambassadors were chosen based on academic merit, a demonstrated commitment to service, and a profound sense of personal responsibility for the human condition. They spent the year prior to their travel studying an Echo-created curriculum about Wiesel’s life and work, serving as ambassadors for Echo educational programming, and participating in a dialogue with Professor Wiesel. In the summer of 2007, they embarked on their remarkable journey.



Summer 2006
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL created – planning begins for programming and travel

Fall 2006
Students across the state study curriculum in preparation for dialogue with Elie Wiesel; students apply for IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ELIE WIESEL

January 2007
Footsteps Student Ambassadors
chosen and announced

February 2007
Humanity’s Day at Myers Park High School

March 2007
Elie Wiesel returns to Charlotte for Student Dialogue at Myers Park High School, Forum For Hope, Community Lecture at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and Scholars Breakfast at the Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center; Footsteps Ambassadors meet Professor Wiesel

Spring 2007
Footsteps Ambassadors complete
intensive study program

July 2007
Footsteps Ambassadors travel in the footsteps of Elie Wiesel

Fall 2007 - Present
Footsteps Ambassadors share their experience with the community