In the shadow of a border wall, a new generation of Palestinian youth overcome obstacles through their love of the sport parkour in Hurdle , a new documentary that will have its New York Premiere at DOC NYC 2019.
From filmmaker Michael Rowley comes the New York Premiere of his critically acclaimed feature documentary directorial debut Hurdle at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival. The film is in the festival’s “Fight the Power” section and will screen on Wednesday, November 13 at 9:30 p.m. at IFC Center.
As the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories approached its 50th year, Hurdle reveals an important and intimate story emerging from the hearts and actions of Palestinian youth. This new generation responds to a world of walls, checkpoints and arrests in an unexpected and inspiring way—through the thrilling sport of parkour—the act of moving rapidly through an urban environment while negotiating obstacles by running, jumping and climbing. Hurdle’s protagonists, Sami and Mohammad, begin teaching the creative practices of parkour and photography, respectively, to the youth of their communities as a means to overcome the personal and political obstacles that often feel inescapable. Though these young men are separated by a wall, they are united in leading the next generation toward freedom and self-determination through non-violent, creative practices.
With breathtaking visuals, amazing access and action-packed scenes, Hurdle provides an edge-of-your-seat look at an old conflict. From gunshot wounds and arrests, to brotherhood and faith, the film navigates the politics of the region through the first-hand experience of the characters, revealing a deeply personal and human investigation of the lives of the Muslim youth of Palestine in the Occupied Territories. The story provides an opportunity for a diverse audience to connect on a human level with a community that is underrepresented in the mainstream narrative. In a time when the global conversation is focused on wall-building and dehumanizing “the other,” Hurdle not only documents the evolution of an age-old conflict, but stands as a global harbinger.
Sami, a 24-year-old Palestinian living in Occupied East Jerusalem is the founder and coach of the Jerusalem Parkour team. He taught himself parkour by watching videos on YouTube. Sami’s passion is unwavering as he teaches youth ages eight to 21 to overcome fear and avoid political danger by finding strength in parkour.
Mohammad, a 26-year-old Palestinian in the Occupied West Bank, is a photojournalist and the director of the media unit of Aida Refugee Camp’s Lajee Center. A lifetime resident of the camp, Mohammad uses his skills in photography to document life under military occupation. He teaches the children of the camp to use photography as an escape from daily pressures and encourages them to tell stories about themselves, because they are human and should be viewed as such in the eyes of the world.