Step

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USA | 2017 | 82 minutes | Amanda Lipitz

An emotional journey through the sisterhood, the struggles, and the heart of three Baltimore high-school students who are planning for college and training for a step-dancing championship, all while social unrest rocks their troubled minority community.

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Amanda Lipitz has worked for both stage and screen, filming documentary shorts about first-generation college students and producing Broadway shows (from "Legally Blonde the Musical" to "A View From the Bridge"). She combines these two worlds in her documentary Step. Her first feature film follows an all-girl high-school step team in Baltimore through their senior year. Lipitz originally met the stars of her documentary when they were in the sixth grade, and followed their academic careers for years before learning of this extracurricular activity. This emotional and heartfelt documentary observes the team as they navigate the odds stacked against them as minorities from the inner city, in the midst of the riots that ensued after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. The sisterhood, the struggles, the heart—all is highlighted in Step as Lipitz follows these girls as they try to get into college on top of working to become a championship step team. Through music and step, their pride for Baltimore is evident throughout the film, sparking a rally of hope and resilience that seems to pour out from the screen. 

Director Biography

Amanda Lipitz is a master of her craft, spending years recording the journeys of first-generation college students. Step, her first feature-length documentary, features the subjects of her earlier short docs.

Sponsored by The Art Institute of Seattle, Savannah College of Art and Design

  • Director: Amanda Lipitz
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 82 minutes
  • Producer: Steven Cantor, Amanda Lipitz
  • Cinematographers: Casey Regan
  • Editors: Arielle Davis, Penelope Falk
  • Music: Laura Karpman, Raphael Saadiq
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2017 (Special Jury Award, U.S. Documentary)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Fox Searchlight
  • International Sales: WME