After surviving a traumatic brain injury, a charismatic boy must be raised a second time by his family. During his miraculous recovery, he is given a platform to reach more than he imagined and perfect his knock-knock jokes.

The Film

HI I'M BLAKE follows a charismatic 14-year-old who is the victim of a life-altering gymnastics accident in 2014. Blake Hyland was given a 50/50 chance of survival after experiencing a traumatic brain injury. Blake, however, has never been one to mold to expectations.  

After being reset back to the skills of a newborn, Blake faces a long and difficult road to recovery. He is charging back into the world he knew before except this time without a filter. His faith is the source of his motivation to recover, yet tension resides between the acceptance of reality and hope for the future. This film follows The Hyland's journey through recovery over the course of five years.

The feature film was launched by the short documentary LOOK UP AND LOOK FORWARD | (VIDEO LINK). This short covers Blake's initial recovery just two months after his accident and went on to win a national competition. It aired in millions of homes across the US through Pivot Television and marked the beginning of filming.

This Campaign

Filming and editing HI I'M BLAKE began in 2014. In December of 2018, we reached a rough cut edit of the film and hosted our first test screening in Austin, Texas. The feedback we got was incredible. Now that principal photography is complete we need to raise funds to finish this film to meet the technical standards required for distribution. This will help make it possible for the Hyland's story to reach a wide audience. We have gotten this far with the help of so many generously giving their time and resources.

Finishing a film with donated time and limited resources is challenging. We are launching this campaign to ask for your support to help us finish this film.

Our goal of $50,000 will make it possible to complete the following:

Final Edit & Picture Lock
Motion Graphics & Titles
Sound Mix & Design
Color Correction & Online Editing
E&O Insurance
Music Composition
Festival Fees
Launch of Impact Campaign 

Support this campaign by pledging a financial contribution, sharing with your personal network, and following us on social media!




Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is known as a silent epidemic. It receives far less awareness than it deserves. TBI is the nation's leading cause of death and disability in persons under 45 years old and is more common than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries combined.*  With so few willing to speak out about their story with TBI, it’s hard to learn about the effects on its victims.

Blake seeks out opportunities to share his story and doesn’t miss a chance to spread his child-like joy with others. You can often find Blake workshopping his newfound love of stand-up jokes to people he meets along his recovery journey. As Blake grows in sharing his story at hospitals, churches, and events, he begins to receive attention from brain injury organizations, the state of Texas, and international followers. His experience raises questions and awareness about the condition and care of TBI victims.

The primary objectives of HI I'M BLAKE are to encourage viewers by showing Blake's recovery and fight for independence, to increase awareness of TBIs, and to spotlight the impact Blake's story has had on the lives of those around him. HI I'M BLAKE will provide a story for patients and organizations involved in recovery, including those within the TBI community, to raise awareness and advocate for change. We hope this story will encourage anyone going through difficulty, big or small, to find hope.

*Report of the Texas Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council Presented to the Governor of Texas, the Lieutenant Governor, The Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and The Texas Legislature 

What's next?

It is our hope to begin our impact campaign by submitting to several premiere festivals as well as setting up screenings in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Waco to generate media about Blake's story and begin meaningful conversations in the local community about recovery, TBI, and faith in difficult times. 

As an independent project without distribution in place at this time, we don't yet know how the film will be released to the public, but we will do everything we can to allow our Go Fund Me backers to view the film as early as possible.

We have garnered relationships with organizations such as the Brain Injury Association of America, the Ronald McDonald House, and TBI rehabilitation programs across Texas that are eager to see this film reach completion and have given us support in the production phase. 

Please contact us at [email redacted] if you have any questions about our campaign or project.

Meet the Team

Jon Michael Simpson  (Director/Producer/Editor)

Jon Michael Simpson is an award-winning director and producer based in Austin, Texas. His short documentary LOOK UP AND LOOK FORWARD was the Grand Prize Winner of Pivot TV's national competition in 2014. This short developed into the feature documentary HI I'M BLAKE that he directed and produced while studying film at the University of Texas at Austin. Since graduating he has produced three narrative feature films, in addition to writing and directing multiple short documentaries, short films, commercials, and digital series. Jon Michael recently produced  Snapchat’s V/H/S branded show FIRST KISS (SXSW 2019).

Hanan Townshend  (Composer)

Hanan Townshend is an acclaimed film composer based in Seattle, Washington. Townshend has composed music for numerous feature films, docs, commercials, and tv shows, including frequent collaborations with Palme d’Or winning director Terrence Malick and three-time Oscar-winning DP/director Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki. He has scored over a dozen feature films starring some of the most established names in Hollywood. He has also written music for numerous domestic and international commercials for companies such as Apple, Volvo, Guinness, and American Express.

Lee Rothenflue  (Editor/Associate Producer)

Lee has over 18 years of experience overseeing the production and post-production of many different types of film and video projects, including feature films, documentaries, corporate promos, and commercials. He has worked with clients like Charles Schwab, Google, Red Bull, Seton Hospital, the Tiger Woods Foundation, and PetSmart, among others. His attention to the specific needs of every project and creative ability helps projects finish on time, within budget, and beyond expectations.

Jeff McQuitty  (Cinematographer) 

Jeff McQuitty is an Austin based director of photography. After graduating from film school at The University of Texas at Austin, he has worked on a variety of projects including feature films, documentaries, commercials, digital series, and music videos. He has served in roles in both the camera department and grip & electric. His work has taken him across the United States as well as abroad to India and Africa. 

Trent Russo  (Co-Producer)

Trent Russo graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s in Professional Accounting from McCombs School of Business. Upon graduating, Trent began his career with Ernst & Young. His responsibilities include coordinating with upper-level management while analyzing financial statements and managing the status of multiple engagements, among various other technical and supervisory roles. Trent’s education and experiences have taught him to organize the people, funding, and logistics essential to the success of any project.

Our Advisors

Will Dane (Public Affairs Manager, Brain Injury Association of America)
Russell Groves (filmmaker, "Dealt" and "Jumpshot")
Patti Davis (Director of Customer Relations, Centre for Neuro Skills)
Mike Akel (filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock's "Chalk")
Andrew Lee (filmmaker "Sea Drift")
Greg Kwedar (filmmaker "Rising From Ashes" and "Ghost Fleet")

Risks and Challenges

All film projects carry risks and challenges due to factors outside the producers' control. However, the bulk of the journey of making HI I'M BLAKE is complete, and now we are asking for your help to get us to the finish line.

If we reach our fundraising goal, we are confident your contributions will allow us to complete the film and begin submitting to festivals in 2019. The indicated timeline is our best estimate, and we will deliver this film in a timely manner as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your support!
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Jon Michael Simpson
Austin, TX

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