After losing sight, John Hull knew that if he did not try to understand blindness it would destroy him. In 1983 he began keeping an audio diary.
Over three years John recorded over sixteen hours of material, a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, excavating the interior world of blindness.
Published in 1990, the diaries were described by author and neurologist Oliver Sacks as, ‘A masterpiece… The most precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read.’
Following the Emmy Award-winning short film of the same name, the feature version of 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’.
The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival (alongside our virtual reality project), as well as winning the Special Jury Prize at the 59th San Francisco Film Festival and the Wellcome Trust Innovation and Storytelling Award at Sheffield Doc/Fest.
Dirs. Pete Middleton, James Spinney, UK, 2016, 90 mins
Cast: Dan Renton Skinner, Simone Kirby, John M. Hull