Who's Says The Blind Can't Direct?!
Article by Aaron Haughton
Who says you need to see in order to direct a film? Certainly not Adam Morse, who just recently premiered his debut feature, Lucid, at the Edinburgh Film Festival, and a week prior to the screening publicly announced that he was legally blind.
Morse had perfect vision until 2009, when his eyesight suddenly deteriorated while working as a production assistant on the film City of Life and continued to worsen.
"I started noticing, in the centre of my vision, there were some dots,” he told The Guardian. “Over that spring-summer of 2009, the dots in the middle of my vision began to get bigger and multiplied. My sight was getting worse by the week. My confidence took a big knock. Not just my mobility … but my social interactions. That was a big shock.”
The doctors eventually diagnosed Morse with a hereditary neurodegenerative disorder called Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. Just weeks after the Morse's diagnosis, his younger brother also began to lose his sight...
Morse didn't let this keep him down, however, and resolved “to stop focusing on the limitations and instead concentrate on what I could do." Going further to say, “I want to inspire people to make their dreams real. I’m not just talking about disabled people. I want everyone to believe in themselves and to realize that almost anything is possible.”
Morse's vision was made into a reality with the help of his cinematographer, Michel Dierickx, who was aware of the director's condition from the start, and the aide of a 60-inch screen reader, which allowed him to write again. "Every letter on the keyboard that I type out, it reads back to me. I hear what I’m typing.”
Morse hide his condition from nearly everyone but Dierickx, stating, “I had that anxiety of being found out every time I went to a meeting with one of [the financiers]. I would bump into something or they would point to something across the room or on the screen of their phone and I would have to fake it — pretend that I knew what they were looking at … None of them were any the wiser about my condition thankfully.”
The same was true of Billy Zane, who stars in Lucid. “Billy didn’t know, and I only told him two days after we started filming. He didn’t believe me,” Morse said.
The whole situation reminds me of Woody Allen's 2002 film, Hollywood Ending, which involves a once-famous film director who suffers hysterical blindness due to the intense pressure of directing.
The only difference here is that Morse's story is one of positivity and empowerment, a testament to the fact that we can do quite literally anything when we are determined. “I just want to inspire those who lack faith in the universe, spread a positive message and lead by example.”
Lucid involves a therapist (Zane) who attempts to help a patient, a lonely young man, overcome his social anxiety by experimenting with lucid dreaming.
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