NOTES ON BLINDNESS
“I knew that if I didn’t understand it, blindness would destroy me”
In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and academic John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began keeping a diary on audio-cassette – a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, which excavates the interior world of blindness.
Based on the Emmy Award-winning short of the same name, NOTES ON BLINDNESS is the debut feature film from Peter Middleton & James Spinney. The film utilises a creative approach to the documentary form: actors lip-synch to the voices of the family, with the filmmakers embedding John’s original audio recordings within evocative cinematic compositions and textured sound design.
The film won the Special Jury award at the 2016 San Francisco Film Festival, the Storytelling & Innovation award at the 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Golden Frog Award for cinematography in a docu-drama at Camerimage, and was nominated for six British Independent Film Awards, where it took home the prize for 'Best Documentary'.
Distributed via Curzon Artificial Eye, the film opened in UK cinemas on July 1st to rave reviews. The Guardian's Charlie Phillips gave it a five star review, declaring it a "beautiful, accessible and thoughtful work of art," while Mark Kermode called it "extraordinary... utterly immersive" in his five-star review in The Observer - and in his weekly BBC News appearance he crowned it his Film of the Week four weeks in a row.
Both the film and its sister project, the award-winning Virtual Reality experience NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS (scroll down for more info), toured extensively across the UK and Ireland.
Watch the trailer below.
“As one goes deeper into blindness one begins to live by other interests, other values. One begins to take up residence in another world.“
Launching alongside the feature film, NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS is a fully immersive Virtual Reality project co-produced with Ex Nihilo, ARTE France, and AudioGaming.
John’s original diary recordings form the basis of the project, a six-part interactive documentary using binaural audio, VR and real time 3D animations to explore his cognitive and emotional experience of blindness.
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness was awarded the prestigious Storyscapes Award at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, the Alternate Realities VR award at the 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Best Online Project at Prix Europa. You can view the teaser trailer here: http://www.notesonblindness.co.uk/vr.