By Michael ROWLEY


Documentary - Completed 2019

In the shadow of a wall stands a new generation of Palestinian. With defiant creativity, they prove that no matter the height of an obstacle one can always climb.

& Awards

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019
Market Selection
Dallas International Film Festival 2019
Nomination: Best Documentary Feature
Mountainfilm 2019
Documentary Features
New Haven Documentary Festival 2019
Documentary Features
    • Year of production
    • 2019
    • Genres
    • Documentary, First film, Social issues
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 87 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Michael ROWLEY
    • Producer(s)
    • Remoy PHILIP (Theo Media), Andrew BROWN (Hurdle Film LLC), Michael ROWLEY (Fold Studios)
    • Synopsis
    • Hurdle - Director, Michael Rowley
      (First Time Filmmaker - Seeking World Premiere)

      As the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories reaches its 50th year (2017), 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. Hurdle’s protagonists, Sami and Mohammad, begin teaching the creative practices of parkour and photography 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.

      Sami, a 23-year-old Palestinian and the coach of the Jerusalem Parkour Team, taught himself parkour by watching videos on Youtube. 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 overcome the walls surrounding him and passes his creative practice down 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 the loss of innocence they must face.

      Ultimately, Hurdle is an inspiring, informative and educational 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 the intimate look at the depth and humanity of these young men, Hurdle acts as a catalyst for better conversations that will resonate in a time when the global conversation is focused on wall-building and “the other”. Ultimately the film asks the question of the viewer: “When systems of power are building walls, both physically and metaphorically, how will this new generation respond?”