Creativity

This Powerful Film About a Paralympian Simulates How it Feels to Grow Up Blind

Experience by Guide Dogs Recreates the Life of Sprinter Libby Clegg

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Sep 08, 2016

Editor's Pick

A powerful film from the U.K.'s Guide Dogs organization, featuring a partially-sighted Paralympian runner, tries to recreate for the audience what it's like to grow up blind.

The experience, by Don't Panic London, begins by asking the viewer to close their eyes, put on their headphones and focus on what they can hear. With the screen black, it then recreates several scenes in the life of Libby Clegg, the runner, from her childhood onwards.

At first, we hear her protected and helped by her parents, building sandcastles and hearing bedtime stories. But as she grows up it becomes darker; she's harshly insulted, jostled and turned down for jobs, and has to listen to her parents discussing sending her away to a special school. The use of binaural sound makes the experience more realistic as the audience eventually hears how she takes up running -- you can hear her panting as she trains. Finally, viewers are asked to open their eyes, to see footage of Clegg winning a 100m race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The film ends on an image of her standing with her guide dog, Hattie.

Nick Hodder, head of digital at Guide Dogs, said in a statement: "This is the first time we've created a video that tries to put the viewer directly into the world of someone with sight loss. It's a really engaging emotional and sensory experience where we're asking the viewer to challenge themselves to see how they would feel facing the world as a blind child. We want to increase understanding of the challenges that people with sight loss face, but also tackle preconceptions about what they can achieve. It's a fantastic story of determination and ambition."

The film launches online this week to coincide with the Paralympics in Rio.

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About

Credits

Date
Sep 08, 2016
Agency:
Don't Panic London
Client:
Guide Dogs
Creative Director:
Richard Beer

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