Stand Up

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Film Feature

Documentary, Sport

Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz

1 Campaigns | Pennsylvania, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $2,670 for distribution. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

20 supporters | followers

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DON'T STAY DOWN! "Stand Up" is a high stakes, wrestling documentary that champions family, brotherhood, and perseverance against greater odds. The film is on Seed&Spark to provide you EARLY ACCESS so it can inspire you this wrestling season to dig deeper and win. Join us to defy defeat. Wrestle!

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

The Story


Stand Up is a high school sports, high stakes, wrestling documentary that champions family, brotherhood, and perseverance against greater odds.  
The CD East Wrestling team hasn’t had a state qualifier in 5 years.  However, 2014 may break that streak.  Two seniors, Cevon and Joe, best friends and rivals, have one last shot to rise to the expectations of their team by wrestling to the PIAA State Tournament.  Their greatest opponents are themselves as they struggle through the hardest wrestling state tournaments in the nation, and to find a meaning in their hardships.  
Stand Up is a one of a kind wrestling experience that immerses you as a teammate, sitting mat-side during the high-class wrestling action.  You could not get closer than this!
Stand Up.  Defy defeat.  DON'T STAY DOWN

Why Make It?

A statment from Director Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz (Right)



"I am attached to this film because I once wrestled for East High as a promising team captain, and I was expected to make it to the district and possibly state level my senior year- until I broke my finger. That ended my sports career. I was utterly destroyed and fell into depression for years; it was wrestling that transformed me from a “foreign kid”, who was ostracized and picked on, to a favorite brother amongst a family of the strongest people I knew. Wrestling taught me strength and showed me victory. It was not until years later that I saw this when the process of filming Stand Up opened my eyes to a simple message:


In wrestling, the inferior position is the bottom position. Your opponent’s weight crushes you as he twists your neck to flip you on your back. You’ve fallen, and feel the strength leaving your limbs. “It’s all over,” you say to yourself. Then you remember: the only way to get out of this situation is to catch your breath, build your base, and stand up."

The “stand up” is the greatest wrestling move I’ve ever learned.

The Making of Stand Up

This film was years in ideation ever since director Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz was in film school at Full Sail University.  Every visit back to his high school wrestling team, CD East,  brought up the conversation of a documentary done on the team that was meant to share just amongst peers.  Little did anyone know, that fun idea would turn into the wrestling movie phenomenon, Stand Up, and would have wrestler’s boasting “Can’t Keep Me Down!” across the nation.


Abdullah began preparing for the filming in early 2014 when he volunteered to help out during CD East's practices.  By wrestling and pushing hard with the wrestlers everyday, he came to know everything about that year’s team.  It was also then he gained the trust from the team that allowed him access to get the intense and intimate perspective as portrayed in Stand Up.  He literally puts you right on the mat.  This whole process was especially aided by his former coaches, Jason, Michael, and Kenneth.  Abdullah also received help from Cevon and Joe, who were freshmen under his leadership during his senior year. 


Filming began in January 2015.  At that point the end product was supposed to be a short film, but the love for the team and their inspiring stories kept growing.  Abdullah continued to follow their journeys, filming on his own, until May 2015.  


With over 25 hours of footage on his hands and with little help, Abdullah began editing in June 2015.  Co-Producer Daniel Bills joined the project a few months later to assist with the logistics and organization of the huge project.  By December 2015, tests of the film were being screened.  Abdullah and Daniel held a special Christmas screening for the participants of the film and their families.  The film was praised for its capturing and portrayal of the East High Wrestling spirit.  


In February 2016, Abdullah brought composer Luciano Vian on board to score the project.  It was Luciano’s first time working with the sports documentary genre, and it offered many challenges for him.  What emerged was the brilliant “Can’t Keep Me Down” song, the anthem of the film.


March 5th 2016 marked the end of the post-production process with a complete film, from start to finish. 

What's Next?

Stand Up's goals are to inspire wrestlers across the nation to dig deep within themselves for true success, to illuminate the value of hardwork, and to promote, support, and fund wrestling teams and organizations.  To accomplish this we aim to fund through Seed&Spark to launch theatrical and educational events!

Bring STAND UP to your local big screen with Tugg Theatrical and Community events!


We’ve partnered with a web-platform that enables individuals, groups, and organizations to set up personalized screenings of Stand Up in theaters and community venues across the country.  The best thing about a Tugg screening is that it gives Stand Up and those hosting the screening, freedom to make the events truly unique from your average theatrical experience, and to make an immediate real-world impact!  Use this opportunity to spark change in your wrestling program and area in the following ways:


  • Rally and inspire your team by offering this fun, constructive, and rewarding event.  Make it an after practice special before the weekend or a big tournament!  The film was made to lift spirits and show wrestlers how much deeper they can dig!
  • Use a screening event to fundraise for your team!  You can earn audience contributions, revenue (up to 40% for those aiming for a goal) from the event, or sales through merchandising (if the establishment allows).
  • Anyone can attend your event!  Bring wrestlers, coaches, parents, and even other teams.  Use this as an opportunity to unite your local wrestling community and build support for your teams!  Audiences who have a blast with you will surely come out again to see you!
  • Bring more attention to the sport in your school.  Invite the students to show them what the sport is truly about and how it can propel them to a next level.
  • Bring the director via Skype or in person to relate his motivational story behind Stand Up, and to hold a Q&A afterwards.
  • Allow those purchasing tickets to also purchase the Special Edition DVD with multiple extras that will educate your wrestlers, giving them an edge on the mat.


Visit to get first notice on when you can host your own Stand Up screening!





Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Music Licensing

Costs $750

We must upgrade our music licensing with our vendor, Premium Beats, for a legal and commercial nationwide theatrical release.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

DCP Creation

Costs $900

Only 40% of theaters play Blu-Ray still, as they have all switched to DCP file format. This format is compatable with all digital theaters.


Costs $1,684

These are the DVDs & Blu-rays we will be sending to theaters, those hosting Tugg screenings, and also to YOU for early access!

About This Team

Director & Producer - Abdullah Abu-Mahfouz


Abdullah was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA on February 6th 1994.  He is a Muslim American filmmaker with a passion to explore life-lessons through the film medium and to connect people with the craft. He first started filming and writing stories for his classes and family since he was in kindergarten. As a young boy he learned how the media and helping others could go hand and hand; he then began to create short film projects for volunteer events until he went to Full Sail University to graduate in the film BS program in 2014. At the start of his career, Abdullah collaborated with Al Jazeera America to produce segments and short documentaries. He now focuses on revealing stories that inspire understanding and social impact through documentary and fictional-narrative films for Reel Nation Media.


Sponsor - Michael Fessler

Michael Fessler is a writer, speaker, and the author of Faith and Wrestling: How the Role of a Wrestler Mirrors the Christian Life, They’re Just Not Interested: Rediscovering our Faith and Approaching Nonbelievers with the Faith of a Wrestler, and the highly anticipated soon to be released The Wrestler: A Life of Passion and the Pursuit of Greatness.  As revealed in his previous two books, Michael Fessler has a passion for the message of “faith and wrestling.” According to Fessler, we are all wrestlers in the faith, and the “faith of a wrestler” is the most accurate description and approach to the Christian faith. God, through His grace and love, allows us the opportunity to wrestle with Him in order to allow the potential for deeper trust and intimacy.


Current Team