Dir: Wisam Al Jafri
2019| PG | Feature/ fiction | Arabic with English subtitles| 15’
Dir: Michael Rowley
2019 | PG| Documentary Feature | Arabic with English subtitles | 87’
Saturday 25 Jan, 8 pm @ The Yard, Alserkal Avenue (closing film)
*free admission seating is on a first come first serve basis
Despite the noise and chaos of the refugee camp, two young Palestinian refugees discover a creative way to record music in order to meet a competition deadline.
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. The new generation responds to a world of walls, checkpoints and arrests in an unexpected and inspiring way. H urdle ’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.
Parkour is the sport of moving rapidly through an urban environment while negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing. Sami is a 23-year-old Palestinian and the coach of the Jerusalem Parkour Team. He is a rock to his peers, takes his role as a mentor seriously and remains steadfastly devoted to his sport and community. Sami is seen teaching his followers at the base of the Israeli Separation Wall, on the rooftops of Jerusalem and in a small practice gym tucked away in the Old City. The youth, feeling immense pressure from the effects of living under military occupation, explode with a dynamic show of acrobatics - taking back their personal freedom of movement.
Living on the other side of the wall in the Palestinian West Bank is Mohammad. A lifetime resident of Aida refugee camp, he too turns to creativity in order to escape the walls surrounding him as he passes down his creative practice to the youth of the refugee camp. By developing their skills in photography and storytelling, they are able to document daily life in the camp and broadcast their stories beyond the walls that keep them static. With shocking visuals of military incursions into the camp, the cameras in the hands of youth become tools of response to the violence and loss of innocence they must face.
Ultimately, Hurdle is an inspiring, enlightening and visceral film emerging from a first-time filmmaker. 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. Through a quietly observant, cinema verite approach, the audience gets an intimate look at the depth and humanity of the young Palestinian men on screen. 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.
About Michael Rowley-Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, U.S.
Michael Rowley is an emerging documentary filmmaker from Dallas, Texas who aims to
document underrepresented stories in an effort to bring awareness, equity and justice to an
interconnected and global society. Rowley’s documentary feature directorial debut, H urdle(2019), was the recipient of Austin Film Society’s North Texas Pioneer Film Grant and a winner of the American Documentary Film Festival Pitch Competition. H urdle enjoyed its World Premiere at the 2019 Dallas International Film Festival where it received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature Film. Hurdle has gone on to play numerous festivals to sold-out audiences and is currently continuing to engage and inspire audiences around the world.
About Wisam Al Jafri
Wisam Al Jafari is a filmmaker born in Dheisheh Refugee Camp near Bethlehem.
He obtained his BFA in filmmaking from Dar Alkalima University ,and has worked in many films as an Assistant Director, Location Manager, Camera Assistant and Sound Engineer. Wisam also made few short fictions and