Beyond Sight – Bringing Amazing Stories to Life
This week’s cause of the week is a little different than the previous causes. Rather than highlighting an organization that is doing great things, we are highlighting an individual on a mission.
After having LASIK surgery back in 2007 Manny Vinea, an animation director and producer in New York City, lived for a few days without his sight. During these days he had a significant amount of trouble getting around and living his normal life. As a result, he began noticing other visually impaired people in the city getting around easily in their day to day activities and leading great lives.
He wants to bring these stories to life and raise awareness for people living with visual impairments. His documentary entitled Beyond Sight, will do just that.
How did the whole idea come about?
I got a spark of the idea when I had LASIK surgery in 2007. I was barely able to see for the following 2 or 3 days. I live a few away from a blindess / visually impaired residential treatment facility in Manhattan, and so I began to see visually impaired people getting around easily and leading great lives. I talked to so many of them and was very impressed with what I heard – and I felt that the stories haven’t really gotten out there enough.
Why is this cause close to your heart? Why should other support it?
It is so hard for a sighted person to truly understand, I felt that a good way to do this would be to try to live without sight for 10 days – almost like Supersize Me, in that it uses an experiment on myself to highlight a larger social issue. I believe that this, combined with a variety of interviews sharing others’ stories, will make for a very compelling film. I am so gratified from the responses we’ve been getting so far – Some of the participants will include the first team ever to do a polar expedition with a visually impaired team member, and an Australian man who “sees” via pictures viewed in special conditions that he can only see after he takes them and gets back home. (So really, he is continually seeing the past and places where he went to in that day).
Do you have any other events or fundraisers that you would like others to know about?
Right now, we are fund raising for some of the costs of the documentary through Kickstarter, which is in and of itself kind of a new experiment out there. 5% of all pledges are going to go to the American Foundation for the Blind (who I am still actively trying to get involved in this project)
What are your hopes the film? What would you like to see it accomplish?
My hopes for Beyond Sight is that it would raise awareness of what visually impaired people go through every day, and the challenges they must overcome, as well as highlighting the fact that they have accomplishments, goals and dreams just like everyone else. I feel like their issues haven’t really been discussed in the mainstream yet.
What advice would you give to others that might like to take on such an amazing endeavor?
My advice for anyone looking to do a documentary is research, research, research and be extremely organized. And you would be surprised at what contacts and friends you will make along the way.