An innovative virtual reality companion project to the acclaimed British documentary Notes on Blindness is to receive a nationwide tour alongside a series of previews of the film.
Notes on Blindness is a British documentary feature film that launched to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival and is based on the audio diaries of theologian John Hull. After being told he would lose his sight in 1983, John Hull knew if he did not try to understand blindness it would destroy him. John’s recordings, beautifully realised on film by directors James Spinney and Peter Middleton, form a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, documenting his discovery of ‘a world beyond sight’.
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness allows audiences to access John’s world of blindness in an exploratory, user-led experience. The VR piece draws upon John’s sensory meditations of blindness, in particular the awakening of his appreciation of ‘acoustic space’. Guided by narration from his original audio diaries, the experience uses binaural sound tethered to real-time 3D visualization, to map environments built up through multi-layered patterns of sound. The project will be released alongside the theatrical release of the feature film on Samsung Gear.
Into Darkness recently won the prestigious Tribeca Storyscapes award, with the festival’s jury praising the project's 'meticulous and elegantly crafted audio landscape’, its 'care and compassion’ for both the project's protagonist and its audience, and its profound closing message that 'being human is not seeing, it's loving'.
The feature film and the VR project are designed as standalone but complimentary productions that hope to enhance and deepen the audience’s understanding of John Hull’s life and experience of blindness.
Following the UK premiere of Notes on Blindness and Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness at Sheffield Doc/Fest, both will tour to cinemas across the UK as part of a groundbreaking project which will for the first time release a virtual-reality work in to cinema venues alongside a theatrical film from 24 June.
The tour is a collaborative production by Curzon Artificial Eye and Sheffield Doc/Fest, and is supported by Film Hubs North, Scotland and North West Central’s This Way Up Exhibition Innovation Fund and the BFI’s Distribution Fund.
Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness is a VR and interactive experience produced by Ex Nihilo, ARTE France, and the French start-up AudioGaming, in co-production with Archer’s Mark. It has been supported by the Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund and Ford Foundation – JustFilms, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC) and Région Midi-Pyrénées.
Notes on Blindness is released in cinemas & on demand on 1 July.