Flying Blind

// 20th of December, 2010

Greenlight for Flying Blind (working title) the much Awaited Follow up to Tricks, from multi Award winning Director Andrzej Jakimowski - a co-production between KMBO (France), Filmes do Tejo (Portugal), ZAiR (Poland) and Film and Music Entertainment (UK). Casting currently underway in Germany, the UK and France for a spring shoot in Lisbon.

Flying Blind (working title) the much bruited third feature and first English language film from Polish-born director Andrzej Jakimowski has completed financing and is now greenlit and preparations are underway in Lisbon for a Spring shoot in the Portuguese capital. Boasting a healthy €2.5 million budget, the producers are now targeting ‘A’ list European talent to complete the cast line up.

The film, written by Jakimowski, tells the story of Ian, a charismatic (and blind) spatial orientation instructor, who arrives at a top notch Lisbon ophthalmological clinic where he is in charge of sessions with blind patients. As a new teacher he uses unconventional methods, and during his spatial orientation sessions Ian quickly wins the trust of his students; a small group of children and teenagers of various nationalities. Among his students, a young woman called Eva, is especially withdrawn and secluded. Ian concentrates his efforts to make her overcome her shyness. He brings her outside the clinic without any permission to help her rediscover the pleasures of life.

Flying Blind is a UK-Poland-France-Portugal co-production between ZAiR (Warsaw), KMBO (Paris), Filmes do Tejo II Multimedia (Lisbon) and Film and Music Entertainment (London) and is funded by the Polish Film Institute, the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC), the Institito Do Cinema E Do Audiovisual (ICA), Canal + Cyfrowy Poland and Forum Film Distribution.

"The subject of spatial orientation by blind people is fascinating." Says director Andrzej Jakimowski, "The remarkable and rarely used technique of "echolocation" used by Ian is only one element of this phenomenon. In fact he pays much more attention to imagination than any sensory perception. This is the outcome of several months’ research into spatial orientation techniques used by blind people - and more broadly by research into the reality of blind people’s lives. I find some of their methods poetic and absolutely cinematic at the same time."

Jakimowski’s most recent feature, Tricks was the Polish Academy award nomination in 2009 and has picked up major awards at Venice, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, Miami and Thessaloniki film festivals. Released in all major international territories the film has performed solidly at the international box office.

"Jakimowski is one of those rare European film makers," says UK co-producer, Mike Downey, "whose films have the ability to travel and communicate whatever the language. In this, Jakimowski’s first English language outing he has created in the roles of Ian and Eva challenging roles for both leads, which will be a great showcase for the talent of whoever Andrzej ends up casting. They are real gems of parts."

The film will shoot entirely on location in the picturesque and socially diverse area of Alfamar which will make a crucial contribution to the authentic look and feel of the story and the city of Lisbon is being enormously co-operative in helping to make this happen.

"Andrzej Jakimowski manages to tell rare, sensitive and universal stories in his films with his very specific light and lightened touch." says KMBO’s Vladimir Kokh "Already very famous in Poland, he is certainly going to take his place as one of the leading voices in European cinema."

Andrzej Jakimowski himself produces for ZAiR, whilst local Portuguese co-producer FILMES DO TEJO is a feature film distribution and production company created in 1998 by Fran├žois d’Artemare and Maria Joao Mayer. FILMES DO TEJO produced more than thirty feature films and collaborated with top directors such as Manoel de Oliveira.

The French partners on the film are Vladimir Kokh and Julien Auger-Ottavi of Paris-based KMBO a feature film distribution and production company whose distribution arm was launched in January 2007 with the aim of releasing new films buy international directors in France. It launched its production arm this year in order to back and partner with authors it has already distributed.

Film and Music Entertainment is one of the UK’s most active producers and is run by Sam Taylor and Mike Downey with chairman Stephen Daldry. They have made 40 films in the last 10 years which have been distributed all over the world and screened at all major A festivals.