BOND/360 ACQUIRES SUNDANCE DOC ‘NOTES ON BLINDNESS’ FOR NATIONAL THEATRICAL RELEASE
DOCUMENTARY AND COMPANION VIRTUAL REALITY COMPONENT TO OPEN THIS FALL, TAKING VIEWERS ON A JOURNEY INTO A WORLD BEYOND SIGHT
NEW YORK, September 1, 2016 – BOND/360 announced today it has acquired the exclusive US rights to the award-winning documentary NOTES ON BLINDNESS. Directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney and following their Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, the documentary takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into “a world beyond sight” through the lens of theologian John Hull. BOND/360 will release the documentary in theaters this Fall beginning with a two-week engagement at NYC’s Film Forum on November 16 followed by a November 25 Los Angeles opening and a national expansion. BOND will integrate the award-winning virtual reality companion NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS into its theatrical and educational release strategy.
In 1983, after decades of steady deterioration, writer and theologian John Hull became totally blind. To help him make sense of the upheaval in his life, he began documenting his experiences on audiocassette. NOTES ON BLINDNESS takes a creative approach to the documentary form. Actors lip-synch to the voices of the family, embedding John’s original audio recordings within compelling cinematography and textured sound design. The result is a poetic and intimate story of loss, rebirth and transformation, documenting John’s extraordinary journey into “a world beyond sight.”
Accompanying the film’s release is an award-winning companion VR experience, NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS, an immersive project based on John’s sensory and psychological experience of blindness. The six-part project uses new forms of storytelling, gameplay mechanics and virtual reality to explore John’s cognitive and emotional experience of blindness. Each scene addresses a memory, a moment and a specific location from John’s audio diary, using binaural audio and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience.
“We’re tremendously excited to be partnering with BOND/360 for the US release of NOTES ON BLINDNESS,” said filmmakers Peter Middleton and James Spinney. “As champions of creative non-fiction which presents alternative viewpoints on the world, they're ideal collaborators for bringing John's account of his discovery of 'a world beyond sight' to North American audiences.”
“NOTES ON BLINDNESS is a sensual journey that plumbs John’s journey into blindness to reveal a richly textured world experienced through John Hull’s diaries,” comments Elizabeth Sheldon, COO of BOND/360. “While there is loss there is also transformation as John’s world shifts from one that privileges sight to an understanding that the other senses can be as rich. This is extended for the audience by the VR experience, which enables users to gain insight into a primarily acoustic experience of the world.”
The documentary first premiered at Sundance before screening at Rotterdam, Sheffield Doc/Fest (Innovation & Storytelling Award), Karlovy Vary, and San Francisco Film Festival (Special Jury Prize), among other festivals. The virtual reality component has also screened at Sundance, Tribeca (Storyscapes Award), Kaleidoscope (Best Experimental Experience), and Sheffield Doc/Fest (Alternate Realities VR Award) among others. Following the theatrical run at NYC’s Film Forum the movie and accompanying VR experience will expand for a national release. The broadcast, digital and home video release is slated for 2017.
BOND/360 acquired the rights from Tel Aviv-based sales company Cinephil. The deal was negotiated by Elizabeth Sheldon of BOND/360 and Philippa Kowarsky of Cinephil. The film is an Archer’s Mark production, in association with Fee Fie Foe Films and 104 Films, and in co-production with Agat Films & Cie and ARTE France. It has been supported by Creative England, British Film Institute, Impact Partners, ARTE France, Swedish Film Institute, BBC Storyville, Cinereach, BRITDOC, New York Times and PROCIREP-ANGOA.
The VR experience was produced by Ex Nihilo, ARTE France and AudioGaming, in co-production with Archer’s Mark. It has been supported by the TFI New Media Fund and Ford Foundation – JustFilms, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC) and Région Midi-Pyrénées.
About BOND/360: BOND/360, a division of BOND Strategy & Influence Services, is a distribution company from the marketing team behind such breakthrough films as Exit Through the Gift Shop, Senna, The Imposter and Particle Fever. Founded by Marc Schiller, the company draws on its extensive experience to provide filmmakers with innovative distribution models, marketing, public relations, financing, and strategic consultation in order to successfully release films and merchandise directly to audiences. Recent films include Deep Web, (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies, Advanced Style, An Art That Natures Makes and Yarn.
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