Michael Achtman, writer/director is making waves in the film festival circuits with his short film “Awake”. Awake is the story of two blind ladies Anna and Doreen.
Anna ( Alex Bulmer) who’s chronically ill is visited by Doreen (Margo Cargill), a door to door proselytizer who makes herself at home and stays the day, slowly defrosting her non-welcome. Together they walk in the park, bake a cake and watch an Ingman Bergman film. Both women are blind, played by blind actors in this existential comedy. Synopsis provided here.
Why do I mention Michael and his film? This week I am attending the International Short Film Festival in Dresden. Michael is leading a workshop on accessible filmmaking titled “Widening the Frame”. The workshop introduces the topic on accessible filmmaking and ways to include and create opportunities for filmmakers with disabilities.
Here is the trailer for the film “Awake” let me know what you think.
Let’s go back to the topic of blind actors. How does that work? I had the pleasure of having a Skype conversation with Michael. The question more or less is where are the blind actors? Organizations, initiatives and groups are pushing Hollywood to develop roles and cast blind actors (e.g not only have non-blind actors play the role of blind actors). Michael enlightened me, one difference between the UK and US is funds or access to work. In the UK there are funds available for blind actors to go to casting calls and auditions.
I am no expert but I assume the costs are significant to end up at an audition. First transportation costs. Taxis’ are not cheap. Second, do you need a “+1” to accompany you to and audition? Congratulations, you land a role! You still probably need to pay your “+1”. If one has limited access to funds how can they get access to auditions? Again UK has Access to Work but what about US? Before roles are created maybe their should be extra funds available to give them access to work.
The story is not over it’s just beginning. Stay tuned and follow along on my adventure on Twitter @Beckswunderland #FFDD17