Filmmaker, Joseph Lovett has glaucoma. And, like many others who share the disease, though his eyesight suffers, his vision is still intact.
Like many others who have glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness, Lovett could have retreated into a quiet solitude and reflected on his past. It would have been easy for him to do so – the numerous documentaries focusing on social, cultural and health related issues, the high praise placed upon him in the form of a Peabody Award and a Primetime Emmy Nomination, the gratitude of companies whom he has provided quality work for and the adoring fans who have enjoyed his primetime specials.
Joseph Lovett and his company, Lovett Productions, have already made their mark in the world of documentaries.
Lovett could have decided to slow down and focus on self-reflection. Instead, he chose to spend the last five years working on this – an 80 minute documentary titled Going Blind. During the course of the project, Lovett talked with several people who had already gone through the process of losing their sight.
While the persons featured in Going Blind have lost part or all of their sight, they too have not lost their vision. Through courage, independence and personal strength, they have come to view life itself through a lens that others may never see through. The causes vary as well from diabetic retinopathy, to macular degeneration, to shrapnel injuries caused by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad. While each person and each cause is unique, all of the characters are inspirational.
So what is the purpose of this documentary? What could it possibly provide to those with 20/20 vision?
The answer is quite simple – Lovett produced this documentary in order to provide information about prevention, detection, treatment and coping mechanisms. Quite simply, the mission of Going Blind is to provide education and assist in breaking down misperceptions.
For instance, did you know that 80% of blindness is avoidable? Thus much blindness is treatable and preventable! Did you also know that according to The Blinded Veterans Association, more than 4 times as many veterans are coming home with significant eye injuries than with lost limbs?
If you didn’t know these things, you aren’t alone – I didn’t know them either until I was introduced to Joseph Lovett’s latest project.
It takes quite a bit of vision on the part of Joseph Lovett and all involved the documentary to tell their story in hopes of educating and inspiring.
It also took great vision by the major contributors who have made the documentary possible, including The Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, Pfizer Ophthalmics, The Allergan Foundation, The National Eye Institute and other generous donors to the project.
So where can we watch Going Blind? Will it be shown on ABC, NBC, HBO, PBS, Bravo, Discovery Health, or any of the other networks that Lovett Productions documentaries have been shown?
This is where your vision comes in.
Joseph Lovett is planning to have Going Blind shown all across the world on or near the time of October 14, 2010 – the date designated as World Sight Day by the World Health Organization.
Where it may be shown could all be based upon your vision and your willingness to act.
Perhaps your Lions Club Chapter will take an active role in showing the documentary, hold a panel discussion afterwards and assist with some eye screenings.
Or, perhaps it will be your church or civic organization that decides that they want to take part in the opportunity to provide education on sight loss.
As Jessica Jones, one of the participants in the documentary says, “You learn to use what you have.”
In this case, we have much. The documentary has already been produced. The stories have already been told. The Going Blind Outreach Toolkit has already been prepared. The date has already been set.
Are you interested in helping your community learn more about blindness and helping someone in your community whom perhaps you have never met?
I am currently working with community leaders in my area to try to make a viewing of Going Blind a reality in the Metro-Atlanta area.
Is this something that appeals to you, as well, for your community?
If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your own vision, this may be a golden opportunity to do so.
To learn more about how you can become involved in sharing Going Blind in your community, please contact:
Please be sure to visit the official Going Blind website by pointing your browser to http://goingblindmovie.com/
What Others Are Saying:
LETTERS OF SUPPORT
“Lighthouse International congratulates you on your success and joins you in your efforts to inform, educate and inspire those touched by vision loss.” Lighthouse International – Tina Georgeou, Chief Marketing Officer <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/lighthouse.pdf>
“We applaud your commitment to increasing the public’s awareness and understanding of vision loss…we would also welcome the opportunity to participate in that dialogue.” American Foundation for the Blind – Carl R. Augusto, President & CEO, <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/afb.pdf>
“The documentary is a poignant piece that captures the spirit and challenges faced by many of our patients…your film helps patients understand the options and opportunities for those blind or with severely limited vision.” American Academy of Ophthalmology – David W. Parke II, MD, CEO, <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/aa_ophthalmology.pdf>
“I want to commend you on the creation and production of your film …the Academy is grateful to you for revealing the benefits of low vision rehabilitation.” American Academy of Optometry – Mark W. Eger, President <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/aa_optometry.pdf>
“It is a rare occurrence when one project brings together so many of the issues that individuals who are visually impaired and their families face every day. That is what you have achieved with your new film.” The Jewish Guild for the Blind – Peter C. Williamson, Communications Director <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/jewishguild.pdf>
“I’ve never seen a film provide the sense of loss of vision as this film does…I wish every medical school in the country would have this film to show.”Blinded Veterans Association – Thomas Zampieri, Director of Government Relations <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/blinded_vets.pdf>
“Your film not only informs, but gives hope to the millions of people who could benefit, if only they knew where to turn.” VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired – Nancy Miller, Executive Director/CEO <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/visions.pdf>
“Going Blind covers every concern about losing vision…it does so effectively without resorting to maudlin emotion or pity.” Macular Degeneration Support, Inc. – Dan Roberts, Director <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/maculardegeneration.pdf>“Going Blind will certainly engage a broad audience, inform the public that there’s not just one way to be blind, and illuminate the human conditions that unite us all.” WETA Public Television, Washington, DC. – Karen Kenton, Programming Development Executive <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/weta.pdf>
“Your approach to this subject matter is journalistically sound and the end result will be informative, entertaining and inspiring.” Readers Digest Partners for Sight Foundation – Susan Olivo, Vice President and General Manager <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/partners.pdf>
“The majority of individuals, in the early stages of vision loss, are simply unaware of the specialists, services and resources available to them. This is one reason why a very small percentage of individuals with vision loss reach out for vision rehabilitation services – your film provides an incentive to change that!” AWARE & VisionAWARE.org – Anne Yeadon, Executive Director <http://www.goingblindmovie.com/letters/visionaware.pdf>
Updates from Lovett Produtions:
Going Blind will have a one week NY theatrical run starting October 8 and running through World Sight Day Ocotober 14.
The SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn’s School of Public Health is joining forces with their medical schools ophthalmology department, the Glaucoma Congressional Congress and hopefully SUNY College of Optometry (where we are having our invitational NY premier screening October 7) to do an outreach within their medical center and community. Dr. Pascal Imperato, Dean of the School of Public Health, is very enthusiastic to participate and remarked, “You really turned over a rock when you took on this subject. These issues are totally unaddressed.”