A new feature-length documentary from American filmmaker Michael Rowley documents the experiences of a photojournalist living and working in the Aida Refugee Camp who uses cameras to educate and inspire a new generation of Palestinians.
Having grown up in the refugee camp, Mohammed, 26, documents everyday life in Palestine but also uses his expertise to teach young people to film and photograph and find ways of expressing themselves and telling their own stories.
As he explains in the film, he teaches children not to focus on the soldiers or the watchtowers, but to capture their own lives tales of the people around them. “There is no way to escape the politics in general in Palestine,” he notes. “But we try, at least.”
Entitled Hurdle, the film also documents the experiences of another teacher seeking to inspire a new generation of young people living in Occupied East Jerusalem. Sami, 24, is a parkour coach who seeks to instill a sense of belief and self-determination in his students. “I’m trying to help them discover themselves,” he explains. “If a person can find his goal, his life will be changed in a major way.”
These two teachers are presented in parallel, living either side of the separation barrier, each seeking to find new means of giving young people in Palestine a feeling of self-determination and freedom through non-violent, creative practices.
Hurdle will see its world premiere on April 12 at 7:30 p.m CST and April 16 at 1:00 p.m. CST at Landmark's Magnolia Theatre as part of the Dallas International Film Festival.