We are excited to introduce you to Mohamad Albukaai, Hurdle's translator, on the blog today.
Meet Neil Anderson (or the back of Neil’s head). Neil is a master colorist and we are thrilled that he has agreed to come on our team and provide color-correction for Hurdle! When Neil isn’t spending his nights and weekends making our film look beautiful, he’s working as a full-time colorist at Lucky Post, where he colors ads for companies like Toyota, The NBA, and the New York Times.
Color correction is such an important aspect of post-production and we’ve found an expert in Neil and his assistant Kyle Montgomery. Neil has already blown us away with how he is able to take our footage and make the story, characters and environment come alive in a way that jumps off the screen.
Thank you to all of our supporters (especially you Kickstarter backers and the Austin Film Society) for helping us get one of the best in the biz to bring our story to life.
We are honored to be partnering with Honeymix Studios, a fantastic sound studio in New York City. You have probably seen their work in national campaigns like the Tide Super Bowl ads.
We are excited to have such a talented team working with us on Hurdle's sound mix!
We are beyond humbled by your response to our Kickstarter Campaign (live through August 8, 2018)!
Because of your generous support, our campaign has already doubled our original goal!
We just announced a new stretch goal that will help us host a screening of Hurdle in the Palestinian West Bank. We're also excited to announce that, if we reach our stretch goal, every $50+ backer will receive an exclusive tote printed with Hurdle's Arabic title.
We are excited to introduce you to Theo, a media company and producing partner with Hurdle, on the blog today.
Theo is an educational multimedia brand that creates compelling and engaging content in order to connect audiences to interesting and sometimes challenging subject matter. It was formed in 2016 as a collaboration between Hurdle director/producer Michael Rowley and producer Remoy Philip.
Theo has played an important role in helping amplify the story of Hurdle, so we wanted to share a bit more about Theo (and how it aligns with Hurdle) in the form of a post written by Remoy.
We built Theo to create media that we believed was important. We wanted to tell stories that come from the fringes—stories of people and experiences that aren’t regularly seen or heard. In this way, these stories effectively become bridges. They connect people to underserved stories, help cross a divide that was previously thought uncrossable and, ultimately, could take us all somewhere new.
We developed an online magazine called Rover where we published stories about being stopped and frisked, about being a queer novelist, about being a young woman who doesn’t want to have kids and so much more. We developed a holiday outreach for the homeless called Cookies for Homies Without Homes where we not only shared a small bit of the holiday spirit with the homeless nationwide, but simultaneously told the stories of the homeless outreach workers who made it their job to support the homeless each and every day. We built so many robust bridges, but we were still looking to find and tell more challenging stories that could give you access to something unseen and unexpected.
Hurdle exemplifies exactly what we want our bridges to be. Through Hurdle, we get to cross into a complex world that our daily news cycle often paints with too broad of a brush. We get to watch as young Palestinians navigate a complex world of rubber bullets, sniper towers, and military occupation. We can watch and be inspired by these young men who face walls and respond with creativity to determine their freedom. They teach us that freedom is something you can practice.
Stories are so much a part of our everyday lives. But all too often, important stories fall through the cracks and we miss out on the opportunity to see the world from a broader perspective. At Theo, we don’t want that to happen. And that’s why we’re so proud to play a part in bringing Hurdle to a screen near you. We know this film tells an important story and we also know this story can bridge a gap. We’re excited to bridge that gap with Hurdle and with you.
We are excited to introduce you to Remoy Philip,
one of Hurdle's producers, on the blog today.
Remoy is a NYC-based editorial journalist and creative producer. His work has taken him around the globe telling stories of underserved and marginalized people groups, resulting in humanization and audience activism. Remoy also co-founded Theo Media with our Director/Producer Michael Rowley in 2016.
But that's enough biography — we asked Remoy to tell us in his own words why he is passionate about telling Hurdle's story. Here's what he said:
Growing up in West Texas, my mom had this ever-growing collection of VHSs. On weekends I’d wake up early, push one into the VCR, and get lost in the adventure. Big, Forrest Gump, and The Breakfast Club were some of my favorites. But I’m the son of South-Asian immigrants and from all those movies I grew up with, none of them came close to reflecting my everyday life. The way my grandma wore her gold shimmering saris to church on Sunday, how my mom taught me to eat spicy curry dinners with my hands, or the way my jet black hair curled in waves against my dark brown skin, I saw none of that in those movies (unless it was some sort of gross stereotype). And with that inability to see myself, I began to form an unhealthy view of myself while society at large formed inaccurate conceptions of me and my family.
That’s why I wanted to be a part of making Hurdle. Because I know how important movies can be in forming your own identity and because no matter where in the world you live or what religion you believe in, you deserve to have your story told accurately. You deserve to be the hero of your story—Jason Bourne-ing off of buildings and running up walls. You deserve to take part in your family’s traditions and not be demonized for it. You deserve to be your town’s storyteller and share everything from the prison-like walls to the rubber bullets to the bulldozers that are erasing your family’s history.
I’m so incredibly humbled to get to be a part in the documentary making process. But more so, I’m so excited to help people across the world who haven’t gotten a fair shot at telling their stories. That’s why I’m proud to be working on Hurdle.
Meet Jehad, a primary subject of Hurdle
Jehad is an energetic and passionate Palestinian living in the At-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem. When he joined the Jerusalem Parkour Team, everything changed. What started as just an interest, turned into a way to overcome obstacles and approach life.
“When you see a wall, you imagine what you can do over it. Being able to move from anywhere to anywhere, nothing can stop you."
"You can practice anything. Freedom is one of the things you can practice. Nothing can prevent us from moving free."
Meet Sami, one of the primary subjects of Hurdle.
Sami is a 24-year-old Palestinian who has lived his whole life in the Old City of Jerusalem. He's also a founder and the coach of the Jerusalem Parkour Team. In the early days, he taught himself parkour by watching videos on Youtube frame-by-frame and today remains devoted to the sport.
Sami’s passion is unwavering as he teaches his peers to use creativity to overcome obstacles and find freedom.
“When I started practicing parkour,... I actually felt human — trapped and then set free. I am not trapped. There is nothing holding me.
This is why I have become attached to this sport, because I started feeling this freedom - freedom in a country where there is no freedom."
Meet Mohammad, one of Hurdle's primary subjects.
Mohammad lives in Aida Refugee Camp in the Palestinian West Bank. Using his camera to document daily life in the camp, Mohammad looks to the parkour team and any Palestinian creativity as a powerful response to the restrictions placed upon them.
“We can resist, the power is not the same, but each Palestinian can choose his tool to resist this occupation and now I have chosen the documenting… [it is] better than waiting for other countries to end this occupation or destroying this wall...”
Thank you for visiting Hurdle's website and also taking the time to take a more in-depth look at the film. The past two years has been an incredible journey that has led us to this point. We are officially done with production and are in the post-production phase of this documentary feature film! We couldn't be more excited about the story we've been able to capture and are getting to share in the near future. Until then, I wanted to give you more information in regards to the who, what, when, where and why of Hurdle.
In the 50th year under military occupation, Hurdle depicts a group of resilient Palestinian youth coping with the reality of living in an environment surrounded and separated by walls. The youth find a sense of self-determination and freedom through creative resistance. From the acrobatic sport of parkour to documenting their daily lives behind the lens of a camera, they use their creativity to overcome obstacles — both literal and figurative. From gunshot wounds and arrests, to brotherhood and faith, the film humanizes the unpredictable hardships experienced by many Palestinians. Providing a look into the depth and layers of masculinity within Palestinian culture, the film reveals a present intimacy and vulnerability often missing from the dialogue surrounding this conflict. In addition, the metaphorical resonance of parkour in a world of walls conveys an old story through a new lens — one where obstacles are not seen as limitations, but as opportunities for freedom.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the source of human rights abuse and violence for decades. This century-long conflict has brought with it 50 years of military occupation and a large-scale loss of human freedom, security and dignity throughout the region. A major hindrance to peace negotiations has been the continued restriction on Palestinian movement. With walls that surround entire communities, unpredictable travel restrictions and military checkpoints as a part of daily Palestinian routines, this lack of freedom is a key issue that instigates dehumanization and violence.
Approximately 10 years after the construction of the Israeli separation barriers, the argument can be made that Israelis are less safe and Palestinian suffering has increased exponentially. Not only is this situation an important, ongoing human rights issue in Israel/Palestine, it is also a cautionary tale about similar actions that are surfacing in popular political dialogue around the world today.
Hurdle is an opportunity to help a diverse audience connect on a human level with a community that is underrepresented and at times demonized in the mainstream narrative. We are honored to show our Palestinian subjects resist injustices not with violence, but with creativity and determination. For Palestinians, and all those who may be in similar situations of restriction, we are excited to share an inspiring story about how creativity and personal expression can be a powerful form of resistance. Through the lens of Parkour, a sport built on the fundamental idea that obstacles are opportunities for creativity and growth, Hurdle will explore the themes of freedom, peace, and how humans can respond with resilience when facing a lack of freedom.
Please follow our social media channels, sign up for our mailing list, and consider donating to help us get across the finish line on this important film.
Director || Hurdle
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P.S. Would you or someone you know be interested in learning more about Hurdle?
We would love to set up a time to talk! Contact us!