Parallel to the investigation and screenings that we planned across the first half of 2017, we included some interactive experiences in Spanish Sign Language. The XMILE experience was so unique that we received a lot of media attention. I will explain those interactive experiences in the following chapter.
As a consequence, in June of 2017, politicians sat up, took notice of our project, and called me to give a talk at the Spanish Senate.
Imagine we were going to shoot a movie and nobody from the team would communicate with each other. The actors would not get the script; the cinematographer would not know how the director designed the sequences… we would just meet the day of the shooting and shout: Action!
What a nightmare!
Planning is mandatory while creating a film, and regarding audio description (AD) and subtitles for the Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) we could do better.
Although there was not that much ready-made information available, little by little, I was able to find what I was looking for.
I started with History, Politics and Legislation, in order to know the laws and statements that the UN, EU, World Health Organization (WHO) and my own country have published. Already, a lot of work has been done in the fields of technology, communication, social initiatives, etc. towards reducing the level of social exclusion.
The first turning point in my investigation was reading the WHO’s definition of disability:
“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.
Overcoming the difficulties faced by people with disabilities requires interventions to remove environmental and social barriers”.
Smelling my own movie was a surreal experience. It was also an inspiring one, and some ideas popped into my mind: For example, I thought, if we are able to assign a particular perfume to every main character, adding an extra layer of sensory realism, then why not add aromas to a catwalk to make these events more enriching? These essences could be carefully chosen by the project’s fashion designer him or herself, as they were for XMILE.
The multisensory side of the project was interesting, but I had another thing in mind: Given that XMILE could be “smelled” as well as seen, would it be possible to create a cinematic experience that would include people who lack sight or hearing? And, if so, how does a blind person watch a film? And a deaf person? What about the deaf-blind people?
My name is Miguel Ángel Font Bisier and I am a Spanish film director, scriptwriter and a researcher.
Although I started my art career playing the violin for 20 years, I have always been in love with the Seventh Art, and here is one of the biggest reasons why:
Cinema is the only craft that is able to incorporate all the other six arts -architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance and poetry/literature. Therefore, I am able to intertwine a variety of diverse techniques and disciplines in my works, in order to look for the best way to share my stories with the audience.
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