Documentary 3 HIKERS Tells Layered Story of American Hikers Lured Across Iraq/Iran Border and Imprisoned for 2+ years

“3 HIKERS | TriCoast Ent”
Premieres March 22 on VOD and Premium Streaming Channels iTunes, Amazon and more

Los Angeles, CA – March 22, 2017 – How far would you go to save a loved one?

The answer to this highly charged question is thoroughly unpacked in the gripping documentary, 3 HIKERS, director Natalie Avital’s compelling look at the strength of the human spirit. 

In July of 2009, American hikers Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer, and Josh Fattal mistakenly wandered off their hiking trail in Northern Iraqi Kurdistan, crossing a poorly marked border with Iran. They quickly experienced the draconian consequences of their error as they became political hostages of the Iranian Government under suspicion of espionage and held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison for more than two years. This emotional chronicle of the ensuing two-year prison ordeal for them and their families is an intimate, inspiring look at loving perseverance that sheds new light on the delicate diplomacy behind the trio’s release set against the backdrop of the complex geopolitical stalemate between the US and Iran, and the emergence of their crisis as an international news story.

Told chronologically through a variety of news clips and testimonials from the families of the hostages, as well as the hikers themselves, 3 HIKERS perfectly blends its emotional core with intellectually stimulating historical context that explores the issue of Iran-U.S. diplomacy. Weaving together the hikers’ journey with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the subjects and their families, the movie weaves back and forth between life on both sides of Evin’s walls, and recounts a tense tale of excruciatingly prolonged detainment.  The film also digs into the nature of social justice work, and the leaps and bounds the world needs to make to truly give all humans the rights they deserve.

Like the proverbial fly on the wall, we follow the behind-the-scenes machinations to get and keep the hikers in the public eye, and on the lips of diplomats, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  The film pulls you into the ceaseless campaigning by the detainees’ families, which drew the attention of leading personalities including author Reza Aslan, scholar Noam Chomsky, activist Lonnie Ali, political expert Gary Sick and Faraz Sanei from Human Rights Watch, as well as celebrities Muhammad Ali and Sean Penn.  When Shourd is released before her companions, she takes very little time to transition from victim to activist, declaring that she will never be truly free as long as Shane and Josh are still imprisoned. Nevertheless, she finds herself walking a tightrope of sorts, keenly aware that speaking out against Iran will result in their mistreatment, and criticizing the U.S. could lose them critical support. Ultimately, Avital succeeds in deepening our understanding of Shourd, Bauer, and Fattal as three-dimensional, caring activists rather than ignorant wanderers who stumbled into enemy territory.

3 HIKERS had its World Premiere at AFI Docs Film Festival in Washington DC.  The film also screened at The Bentonville Film Festival, (Geena Davis’ festival celebrating women and diversity), as well as The Arclight Documentary Series, curated by The International Documentary Association (IDA), AMDocs, Woodstock Film Festival and many more.

3 HIKERS marks writer/director Natalie Avital’s feature debut with her production company, Daughter Courage Films. Avital produced PAST GOD, an independent noir feature directed by Nick McCallum, as well as the documentary feature STATE OF CONTROL for directors Christian Johnston and Darren Mann. 

3 HIKERS is distributed by Tricoast Worldwide and premieres March 22 on iN Demand (Comcast, Cox and Spectrum, fka Time Warner Cable), iTunes, Amazon, Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, Google Play and Vudu 

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