Utopia has announced the acquisition of North American rights to HI I’M BLAKE and has debuted the film on VOD platforms. The feature documentary, which inspired the “HI I’M” Documentary Anthology Series for Magnolia Network on Warner Brothers Discovery, follows Blake Hyland and his inspirational true story.
After a life-altering gymnastics accident leaves Blake Hyland in a coma, his friends and family cling to hope for a miracle. After weeks of waiting, at last his eyes open, and his optimistic family refuses to believe in anything less than a full recovery. HI I’M BLAKE follows the Hyland’s struggle to paint a new picture for their lives. As Blake attempts to reintegrate into society with a traumatic brain injury, it is a mystery if he will ever walk again, gain an education, or return to his former life. Filmed over six years, this inspirational story captures the joy of a boy with profound hope, the sacrificial love of a family, and seeks to answer the question, “When will Blake fully recover?”
Filming HI I’M BLAKE began in 2014 following a gymnastics accident that changed Blake Hyland, his family, and their community forever. Blake suffered a traumatic brain injury that changed who he was, but his joy and determination would go on to impact countless. Blake creates a platform to bring hope to everyone he meets on the road to recovery while his family wrestles to restore him to his former self. A family friend of the family, director Jon Michael Simpson has crafted an intimate view into the hardships and successes families face when life suddenly turns on its head and rehabilitation becomes everyday life. Though the road to recovery is not the picture the Hyland family once painted for their lives, it is one that is full of humor, joy, and inspiration for those looking for courage in trials of their own.
HI I’M BLAKE strikes a chord we can all relate to in our own lives when questioning when normalcy will return. It also brings awareness to the life-changing impact brain injuries have on families throughout the county. Health professionals describe traumatic brain injuries as "the silent epidemic" due to its widespread reach yet lack of awareness.
“The trust we shared made capturing the Hylands life organic and one of the greatest joys of my life. Although filming over six years and narrowing down the moments from their story to share was a challenge, the vulnerability and strength the Hylands showed throughout the ups and downs made it worth every moment.” said Jon Michael Simpson. “Blake is someone I look up to immensely. In the film, he will continually draw you in with his charisma, humor, and care for others — making him impossible to divert your eyes from.”
"Hi I'm Blake is one of the rare documentaries that will connect with audiences on an emotional and educational level," said Cole Harper, Co-Founder of Utopia. "Jon Michael and his team did a fantastic job covering the real-life events and recovery of Blake Hyland alongside his family over a six-year period. This is a special film that will resonate with families and individuals looking for inspiration or a heartwarming story. We can't wait to hear people's reactions after seeing the movie."
HI I’M BLAKE was produced by Jon Michael Simpson, Jeff McQuitty, Russell Wayne Groves and Lee Rothenflue, with original music by Hanan Townshend and Jeff McQuitty.
Utopia is a film distribution and sales company that specializes in independent
and documentary cinema. Recent Utopia titles include Cannes and NYFF selection Vortex by
Gaspar Noe and Jane Schoenbrun’s We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Upcoming releases this year include Ali Abbasi’s buzzy Cannes title Holy Spider based on a real Iranian serial killer case,and Lena Dunham’s anticipated follow-up to Tiny Furniture, Sharp Stick. Utopia has since
launched Utopia Originals, a division dedicated to the development, packaging, and sales of
original film and television content. Its most recently announced project is a Blues Brothers
docu-series with Dan Aykroyd and the John Belushi Estate.