Sneak Peak of Fovrth’s Gaza Parkour Film

Inside the Gaza Strip with Palestine’s Parkour Team + Fovrth Studios

Gaza Parkour + Free Running (Photo via GazaPK Facebook)

RAFAH, GAZA STRIP — The Gaza Strip, the Palestinian territory that borders both Israel and Egypt, is one of the most isolated and confined places in the world. The Israeli sea, air and land blockade as well as the Egyptian border closure restrict the flow of both people and goods in and out of Gaza. Despite growing up through wars, poverty, and overpopulation, the youth of Gaza are the first generation to connect with the outside world through technology and internet.

Among the bombed-out remains of Yasser Arafat International Airport, Abdullah, Ahmad, and a team of Gaza Parkour Free Runners are practicing flips and vaults, running across the edges of 40 foot walls — their silhouettes pirouetting against the skyline, high off the ground. For them, sport is their outlet — a release, an expression, and a response to the wars and isolation in the form of Parkour.

Film Sneak Peak by Fovrth Fellow Violet Wang

The group is led by Abdullah, a student who aspires to become an English translator. “We have lots of invitations to compete internationally. A lot of people support us,” Abdullah reflects, proudly as he speaks of his team. “But we cannot (compete) because of the border.”

“With the sports, we also feel freedom,” described Ahmad, another founder of the team. “It makes us like bird. Yes, we fly!” For Ahmad, his dream is simple: to get out of Gaza for one day and to be treated as an athlete, not a terrorist.

Fovrth Reporter Anna Therese Day with Gaza Parkour team captains, Ahmad (left) and Abdullah (right)

In 2015, reporter Anna Therese Day and the Fovrth Team began following Gaza’s Free Runners and their struggle against the complicated politics that dictate their dreams.

Since the Fovrth filming began, Ahmad has escaped Gaza to Europe, where he continues on an international parkour team in Sweden. Abdallah, the team’s captain, remains in Gaza under the restrictions of the blockade.

The upcoming film follows this friendship of these two young men, struggling against circumstances they cannot control inside and outside Gaza. The film shows just a glimpse of the defining challenge of this generation’s Gazan youth: coming of age within the besieged Gaza Strip.

Violet Wang is a Fall 2017 Multimedia Fellow at Fovrth Studios.

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