Principal Photography began on May 12 in Portugal on Andrzej Jakimowski’s Blind Watching

// 14th of May, 2011
Alexandra Lara

Alexandra Lara

Edward Hogg

Edward Hogg

Principal Photography began on May 12 in Portugal on Andrzej Jakimowski’s Blind Watching. Former Cannes Jury Member Alexandra Maria Lara and Brit actor Edward Hogg Lead a Cast of 20 Young Blind Actors in Evora and Lisbon.

Principal photography began Thursday on Blind Watching, the eagerly awaited follow up to Andrzej Jakimowski’s Tricks the Polish Academy Award nominee of 2009.

Boasting a healthy €2.05 million budget the producers have secured top British and German actors Edward Hogg and Alexandra Maria Lara to join the cast of largely blind children the much bruited third feature and first English language film from Polish-born Jakimowski, for a shoot that takes in the Portuguese capital Lisbon and a major location in a Convent School orphanage in Evora. Other cast includes: young blind French actor Melchior Derouet (as Serrano), and Francis Frappat (Doctor).

The film, written by Jakimowski, tells the story of Ian (Hogg), 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 Among his students, a young woman called Eva (Lara), is especially withdrawn and secluded.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.

"For Ian, the mind and imagination rather than sensory perception allow him and his patients to move around and live actively." Says Jakimowski," but in the end his methods - although successful - prove to be too challenging."

Film and Music Entertainment in London have brought together a posse of young blind actors ranging in age from nine and sixteen.

"Jakimowski is one of those rare European film makers," says UK 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 these two amazing leads. They are real gems of parts."

BLIND WATCHING is a Poland-France-Portugal co-production between ZAiR (Warsaw), KMBO (Paris), Filmes do Tejo II Multimedia (Lisbon) 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. Mike Downey of Film and Music Entertainment co-produces.

"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.

The film’s shoot will continue entirely on location in picturesque and socially diverse areas of Lisbon 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."

Poland’s ZAiR, produces whilst local Portuguese co-producer FILMES DO TEJO is a feature film distribution and production company created in 1998 by François 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.

For Further Information
Please contact:

Ed Rigg at Film and Music Entertainment (34 Foubert’s Place, London W1
Tel: + 44 7762 212 3300, Ed.Rigg@fame.uk.com)