Updated: Dec 19, 2021
I'm happy to announce that I published Stand Up on YouTube during Thanksgiving this year— 5 years after its theatrical release.
Stand Up is an intimate wrestling documentary that follows CD East High Wrestling, an underdog team battling Pennsylvania's elite District III tournaments. Their hopes of making it to the state championship for the first time in 5 years lie in two seniors, Cevon and Joe, who are best friends, goofballs, and unrelenting wrestlers. The 80-minute sports drama encompasses what it means to be a wrestler during the ups and downs.
Watch the trailer at the following YouTube link:
Where to Watch the Full Film
The full official release of Stand Up is public at the following YouTube link: https://youtu.be/MdCkW80q4ho
If you loved the film and know anyone who would benefit from watching it, please let them know where to see it!
What Stand Up Means to Me
In my six years of competing, wrestling taught me tenacity, grit, and what it means to accept your best efforts. However, it wasn't until my career ended (after a serious injury) did I fully realize these earned traits. The sport meant everything to me. When I lost it, I was heartbroken. It took time for me to heal physically and emotionally. It took years of reflection to accept how the sport improved my character. I set out to capture that aspect of wrestling; the spirit of never quitting, becoming stronger through hard work, and overcoming unavoidable challenges.
I couldn't think of a better story to represent that spirit than that of my high school alma mater. It was a team with inexperienced wrestlers, but they made up for it with their heart and love for one another. I witnessed how that love transformed teen boys into mentally tough men who were ready to wrestle through life's trials. While filming Stand Up, I wanted to capture the wisdom of defying defeat and share it with the world.
Why Release the Film For Free?
As of the year of this re-release, 2021, the wrestling community has lost much from the COVID pandemic: be it a year of competition, an entire wrestling program, or more personal loss: health, well-being, jobs, or loved ones.
Aspiring to reclaim the wrestling spirit for wrestlers and myself, I made Stand Up free to watch on YouTube. As an artist who strives to heal and inspire with his work, I felt obligated to make this choice so that the film will reach and help as many young wrestlers as possible.
I also felt it necessary to publish on YouTube due to the film's dramatic relationship with its distributor, a now-bankrupt company called Distribber. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019 while still owing filmmakers like myself thousands of dollars. Consequently, streaming platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu removed any films related to Distribber. Long story short, Stand Up entered a distribution limbo because of its relationship with a company that did not fulfill its service to filmmakers. Audiences were quickly unable to access the film on their favorite platforms anymore.
My Gratitude to YOU
I want to wholeheartedly thank those who have purchased Stand Up on DVD or Digital Platforms. Without you, I could not have sustained myself and continued my work throughout these years.
To the CD East wrestling family, thank you again for honoring me by allowing me to tell your story.
To both new and returning audiences, I have arduously crafted this movie with my heart, sweat, and tears for you. I hope the story entertains you, reaches your heart, and rekindles your love for the sport of wrestling. I strive to share conscious entertainment that inspires and heals with my independent studio, Reel Nation Media. If you would like to follow my future work, please become a member of my site to receive regular updates. If you prefer to subscribe on YouTube, click this link. You may also follow me on Instagram at @abdullah_abumahfouz.
Don't stay down. Defy defeat. Stand Up.
Keep it Reel!
Director Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz