Hurdle's International Premiere: Palestine Cinema Days

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We have a very special announcement today!

Hurdle will celebrate its International Premiere on October 7, 2019 in Ramallah, West Bank (Palestine)! We are so honored to not only be and Official Selection of this year’s Palestine Cinema Days, but to be nominated for their Sunbird Award for Documentary Features.

“The name of the award refers to the Palestine Sunbird, a small bird of 8-12cm height. This bird is able to cope with overcrowded urban concrete buildings, in addition to the crawling desert. It has been forced to live in a different environment that the one it was used to live in - an environment that has green forests.”

For us, to share our film for the first time outside of the U.S. with the community that has inspired us to start this journey four years ago, is something so special. All along, we’ve seen our characters as heroes, overcoming obstacles and leading others to find freedom and dignity. And now we are so happy that they will get to sit and watch themselves on the big screen, surrounded by friends, family and the rest of Palestine. Director, Michael Rowley, will be in attendance as well as the main characters from the film and other crew who helped make this film a reality.

Inshallah, we will see you in Palestine on October 7.

Full Festival Dates: October 2-9, 2019

More information and Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/palestinecinemadays/ , http://doc.flp.ps/

HURDLE - OFFICIAL SELECTION OF TULSA AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL

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OKLAHOMA PREMIERE! Hurdle is an Official Selection of the Tulsa American Film Festival. We're grateful to be included in the program of this exciting festival.

Our screening is on October 10th at 8:30 PM at the Circle Cinema Theater 4. Grab your tickets and tell your Oklahoma friends!

http://www.tulsaamericanfilmfest.com/2019-festival-schedule/2019/8/22/opening-night-party-8llyx-dy7w8-rjp7k

#hurdlefilm #tulsaoklahoma #OklahomaPremiere

HURDLE - Recipient of Austin Film Society's North Texas Pioneer Grant!

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We are so very grateful and excited to announce that the Austin Film Society has chosen us as a 2019 Grant Recipient for their North Texas Pioneer Film Grant in support of our distribution. Thank you to AFS for being a continued support to our film, to Texas filmmakers and for helping us get this film out and into the world.

Congrats to all of the other films and Texas filmmakers!

Read the Austin Chronicle feature here:

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/screens/2019-09-04/afs-announces-2019-feature-grant-recipients/?fbclid=IwAR18-qjHJD9NzWHLT01eCNMpqMQfNmRkuVepN0Y-yqH-q8OFIImLLRw2Pec

Hurdle featured during panel discussion on creative process

Hurdle director Michael Rowley was invited to share his process and creative habits as a part of a panel discussion by Art House Dallas and FLOCC Studio. He shared some behind-the-scenes looks at all that went into making Hurdle a reality.

Visit http://hurdlefilm.com to request a screening of the film or get in touch with our team to be a part of your panels!

Photos by Nat Photography

HURDLE - OFFICIAL SELECTION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE FILM FESTIVAL

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Hurdle is an Official Selection and the Closing Night Film of the Social Justice Film Festival & Institute! We are very grateful to be included in a program with films that strive to shine light on injustices around the world.

Join us for our Washington Premiere in Seattle, Washington on Saturday October 12th at 6 PM at the University Heights Center.

TICKETS HERE: http://www.socialjusticefilmfestival.org/?tribe_events=hurdle

Monmouth International Film Festival - Official Selection

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Hurdle has a New Jersey Premiere!

We are very excited to be an official selection of the Monmouth Film Festival alongside a program of other great films and filmmakers. Not only is our film playing, but our trailer was accepted into their trailer competition and will be screened during the festival.

August 8-11th is sure to be a great weekend! If you're in the area, come see the film, meet Hurdle director Michael Rowley and producer Remoy Philip!

More info on screening dates and times found here: https://www.monmouthfilmfestival.org/films/Hurdle-

#hurdlefilm #officialselection #MonmouthFilmFestival

Hurdle is going to yale

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We’re honored to have been chosen by the New Haven Documentary Film Festival (NHdocs) for Hurdle’s New England premiere on the Yale campus on Friday, May 31st at 7:30 PM.

”NHdocs presents documentaries for audiences with a wide range of interests. This year this will include… documentaries about social issues such as immigration,… and others that grapple with contemporary realities such as the war in Afghanistan. Our line up is filled with remarkable surprises.”


We are excited to bring Hurdle’s empathy-building portrait of Palestinian life under military occupation to the halls of the Ivy League. We would love to see you there!

Admission to all NHdocs screenings is free.

More information can be found here.

We're Headed to Mountainfilm!

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We are excited to announce Hurdle’s Colorado premiere at the Mountianfilm Festival in Telluride, CO on May 24-27, 2019.

”Mountainfilm is a documentary film festival that showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter. Along with exceptional documentaries, the festival goes beyond the film medium by bringing together world-class athletes, change makers and visionary artists for a multi-dimensional celebration of indomitable spirit.”

We are honored to have been selected to screen alongside so many inspiring films that “celebrate the indomitable human spirit.” If you can make it out over Memorial Day weekend, we would love to see you and share the third public screening of this important film with you!


Our screening dates and times have not yet been finalized, but keep your eyes peeled on our social media for more information on dates, ticket purchasing, and other details.

See you in Colorado?
The Hurdle Team

What A World Premiere!

Three years ago Michael, Andrew and myself started making Hurdle. What started with emails and ideas and even questions, materialized into a tangible, watchable, feature-length documentary film. Like a film you can actually watch in a theater. It felt like a dream. But there’s photographic evidence that proves that it really happened.

photo by Nat Chittamia

photo by Nat Chittamia

On April 12, 2019 Hurdle had it’s world premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival where we shared Hurdle with a sold out crowd. Afterwards, the whole production team got the opportunity to answer the audience’s incredibly thoughtful questions. We got to follow that up with a party that lasted into all hours of the celebratory night.

But it wasn’t just the premiere. In the lead up to April 12th, Hurdle received an amazing amount of press. The Texas Observer and Film Threat gave Hurdle powerful reviews. The photo blog FStoppers shared the story of Mohammad, one of Hurdle’s protagonists, on their blog. The Texas Standard sat with Michael Rowley and did a radio style recording where Michael shared the story behind Hurdle. Michael was also interviewed live on the Dallas Morning News to talk more about what inspired to make this film. See more Hurdle press below:


The Hurdle story is nowhere near over. Actually, it’s just getting good. Hurdle has more festival stops throughout the year. We have awesome new Hurdle swag—posters and shirts—on our store. Their are Middle East screenings being scheduled as I type. If you want Hurdle screened near you, send us a screening request.

The Hurdle world premiere was an incredible success. We are all so humbled and excited to have shared Hurdle with everyone who attended. We want to thank everyone who made this possible with all your support and belief. We can’t have made this powerful story without you. And we’re proud to continue to do this incredible storytelling with you.

- Remoy Philip, Producer

Help us distribute Hurdle!

As our early-2019 World Premiere approaches, we're busy working out all of the details to help Hurdle be seen by as many people as possible. And today we’re excited to announce that we are partnering with the crowdfunding platform Launchgood to make that dream a reality.

Launchgood is a platform built for crowdfunding incredible projects that specifically involve the global Muslim community. Hurdle is humbled and excited to be one of the first feature length documentaries to be funded on Launchgood.

Your support on Launchgood will go directly towards building a larger international audience for Hurdle — creating a global and meaningful impact on the conversation of Palestinian’s rights. We’re humbly asking for your help to make sure that this powerful film reaches as many eyes and ears as possible.

Part of the funds will go towards hosting screenings of Hurdle in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. We are incredibly excited to show the inspiring heroes of Hurdle on the big screen right in the middle of their community - inspiring hope and resilience in the face of daily struggles.

You can support Hurdle on Launchgood at this link:

bit.ly/hurdlelaunch

Please check out our campaign and share with your friends!

Hurdle is an Official Selection of Media Library 2019 | Visions du Réel, Festival international de cinéma Nyon!

Hurdle is honored to be selected for the Media Library 2019 | Visions du Réel, Festival international de cinéma Nyon!

“Hurdle has been singled out by our selection committee to be part of the Media Library for its international sales potential and for meeting strict quality requirements. The Media Library is a digital platform that offers industry professionals the opportunity to view a tailored selection of creative documentaries.

Being part of the Media Library is a great opportunity to get the attention of festival programmers and to promote and sell your film. Industry professionals can watch this selection of films on 15-20 film display units accessible during the Festival (05-13th of April) and for 3 more months on our online platform. Only film professionals attending the Festival with an Industry accreditation and selected buyers will be able to access the platform via a secured login.”

We are thrilled at the potential for European sales and distribution!

Check out our page on the VdR library here:

Hurdle to World Premiere at Dallas International Film Festival

April 11-18, 2019

We are so proud and excited to share the news of Hurdle's World Premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival in Dallas, Texas.

"DIFF2019 is a global adventure that boasts premiere screenings, nightly red carpets, daring documentaries, eye-opening short films, exciting digital content, nightly parties, live music performances, filmmaker panels and award presentations. Last year the festival completed a successful 2018 run with over 100 filmmakers attending our Texas-sized film party that saw 130 films screened from 22 countries and an attendance of over 24,000."

We are honored to be included in the programming of this wonderful festival and to begin the journey of our successful film festival run.

So many of you have supported us from Texas, all over the country, and the world. We want to formally invite you to attend our World Premiere screenings to: see the film for the first time its ever been shared publicly, meet the filmmaking team and to let us thank you for helping us create this important and inspiring film.

We are also hoping and working to get visas issued for a few of our Palestinian characters to join us on the red carpet and to answer your questions in person!

Our screening dates and times have not been released by the festival yet, so please block off your calendar (April 11-18) and plan to help us pack out the theater on our big night. We will be sure to keep you informed on the specific dates, how to get tickets and any parties we are planning for the Hurdle family.

Once again and as always, thank you for your belief in this film from the beginning, for getting us to this point and for your continued support in the future.

All the Best,
The Hurdle Team

Meet our Colorist Neil Anderson

We are excited to introduce you to Hurdle's colorist, Neil Anderson.

Neil took the blank canvas of our initial footage and made it into a masterpiece of color. His incredible skill becomes immediately apparent in the first frames of the film. We took a few minutes to ask Neil some questions to introduce him to you and to inform you about his work past and present. We’re excited to celebrate our colorist, Neil Anderson.


How did you get into the color correction? Are there any exciting projects you've worked on in the past?

So my original interest was in cinematography funny enough, and more specifically I was motivated to learn the technical side of how cameras work. After graduating from UNT [University of North Texas] in 2013, I learned that I was much more drawn to post-production. I always kept my interest in cameras, however. When I eventually discovered color grading I knew immediately that it was the best of both worlds, and I’ve been working and practicing ever since.

Some of my favorite projects recently include YETI’s Try & Love, directed by Jeff Bednarz; A rock the vote PSA for Alamo Drafthouse titled America The Beautiful, directed by Trey Hill; And Never Goin’ Back directed by Augustine Frizzell.

What is your mindset to color correction? How is your workflow different from other Colorists?

I’d like to say that I come at it from a creative point of view first. The first thing we have to do is determine what we want the film to look like, and importantly, why. From there I’ll work on the technical side of achieving that look, determining what kind of workflow is needed and best for the job. For instance, how do we want to color manage this project? Should we build custom LUTs or should we consider an ACES workflow? Do we want to use certain scaling algorithms to give a certain level of sharpness? Could noise reduction be utilized as part of a look? It’s important for me to have all my technical ducks in a row before I get started, and I think a project ends up better when we set clear goals from the onset.

What made you decide to work on Hurdle?

I think the film simply has heart. People will leave the theater feeling something, and that to me is a rare opportunity to be a part of. I can only hope my contribution helps accent that aspect.

Have you learned anything from working on the project?

This is actually my first Documentary Feature to work on, so it was an invaluable experience figuring out new ways to tackle a project like this. More specifically, I’d say our use of noise reduction as part of the look of the film is a great new addition to my tool chest.

Do you think Hurdle is an important film? Why?

I’d say anytime someone can watch a movie that deals with a deeply polarizing subject, yet still truly empathize with the characters regardless of their own personal ideologies or allegiances, it becomes an important film. Hurdle has the ability to do just that.





A Great Trip to Israel / Palestine - Remoy's Perspective

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I have to be honest. Working on Hurdle for the last few years, I’ve had these delusions of grandeur where I thought I would get the most joy by putting this powerfully inspiring story in front of as many people as possible. I naively thought, “I can’t wait to get this film in front of the masses!” But after a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, I humbly learned I was wrong.

Michael and I landed on a Monday. We hit the streets immediately and found ourselves in the Old City of Jerusalem on the steps of Damascus Gate—where many of the scenes of Hurdle take place. Here we shared laughs and sweet mint teas with old and new Palestinian friends as Israeli Border Patrol soldiers casually patrolled with their automatic weapons hanging haphazardly off of their shoulders. We talked with a new friend, Mahmoud—a young twenty-something Palestinian who currently lives and volunteers in France—about his work with media and understanding and challenging stereotypes. We also reconnected with Sami—the leader of the Jerusalem Parkour team and one of Hurdle’s protagonists—and chatted with him about his first term in University.

One evening later in the week, we reconnected with Jehad—the sweet big-energy member of the Jerusalem Parkour Team—as he led us to the rooftops of the Old City. As the sun was setting behind the golden glow of the Dome of the Rock, Jehad performed a somersault or three as he jumped from one roof ledge to another. It was a jaw-dropping sight to see how far he was jumping and how potentially dangerous these acts of urban gymnastics really were. But for Jehad, as he flipped, jumped and told us old parkour stories, you could see in his eyes and smiles that it was in these moments where he truly felt free.

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One afternoon Michael and myself made our way through the Muslim quarter of the Old City where we climbed up the steps to the rec center where the Jerusalem Parkour team hosts their weekly practices. After a few kind introductions, we respectfully parked ourselves in the back corner of the wide room as we watched ten or so boys happily but studiously stretch and practice. Hamzeh—one of the the Jerusalem Parkour Team who is often seen in Hurdle—was coaching. This was a sight to see, because not only did Hamzeh lead and teach with a comfortable confidence, but as you’ll see in the film, he was just an average adolescent two years ago when we began filming with the team. Now, here was this handsome young man who (if a continent or two away) would be vying for homecoming king or for a starting spot on his college football team. Instead, here he was graciously giving his time to teach young boys how to see obstacles as opportunities. And not to mention how to land a flying frontflip.

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On my last day of the trip, we made our way to the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem where the other Hurdle protagonist, Mohammad, lives and works. We met him along with Sami and Hamzeh from the parkour team to show them all the film. This was the anxiety riddled climax of the trip. This was their story. This was their lives that we had spent the last two years capturing and capsuling into an eighty-four minute documentary film. Even in the room where we were screening the film, just outside teargas is launched and rubber bullets fly freely as clashes between IDF soldiers and Aida refugees happen regularly. The stakes were incredibly high. What if we got it wrong? What if they were disappointed in the film?


And this is where I humbly got my wake up call. Because in the end they weren’t disappointed. Moreover, they were incredibly thrilled and grateful. Not just because the parkour montages look really cool, but because they finally felt that their stories, their lives were getting the honest portrayal that they deserved. They weren’t being splayed all over the news as terrorists. They weren’t being attacked as ignorant rock throwing Palestinian children. Rather, their stories were getting the context they feel they deserved and a spotlight was being shown on the inspiring work they are all doing each and every day amidst this polarizing conflict.


The work on Hurdle is far from over. It may even be just starting as we go into the festival season and onwards. I know there will be more moments of incredible joy and pride as the work continues. But I also know that we’ve been incredibly lucky to be allowed into these young men’s lives. Seeing them watch their stories come to life on the big screen is an invaluable experience I’m humbled to be a part of. It’s an experience I will never forget. - Remoy Philip, Producer

Thankful

The purpose of our latest trip to Israel / Palestine was to meet with the young men who are the main subjects in Hurdle and show them the completed film in private together. It was an emotional experience. These young men opened their personal lives to us as filmmakers and ultimately to you as an audience. They shared their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges with us so that we may better understand an experience different from our own. It took a great deal of courage, trust, time and sacrifice to allow us to capture the amazing story that we did.

It is for this reason, that we felt it very important to meet face-to-face and allow them to view the film before we release it to the public.

After the screenings with Mohammad, Sami, Jehad and Hamzeh there was a joy but also heaviness in the room. I think we all were realizing that we're a part of something that is bigger than ourselves as individuals. They spoke about our attention to detail and the way we were able to capture not only a story, but how it feels to be in their shoes. One of them said: "Sometimes it's easy to forget who you are, but watching this film has reminded me of who I am." There were hugs, talk of inspiration and plans for the future. After almost three years, we were able to celebrate the work of Hurdle together.

We are so grateful and inspired by these young men. We are ready for 2019, to share this film far and wide and to continue building the Hurdle family. — Michael Rowley, Director, Producer

Post-Production Update: Color Correction

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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.

Director Michael Rowley (right) and Colorist Neil Anderson (left) work through a color session Hurdle.

Director Michael Rowley (right) and Colorist Neil Anderson (left) work through a color session Hurdle.

Kickstarter Update

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.
 


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