Tallahassee--What does being blind and filmmaking have in common? You can find out by being an extra at Tallahassee's own skate park, in a feature film created by blind filmmakers, as a fun element of the 3rd annual Blind CAN Film Festival.
"Our MISSION is to show the world... people who are Blind CAN make films," says the festival's founder, Ben Fox. "We are kicking off our festival by actually filming a scripted scene, live in public, for our feature film "How I See It", during April 7th's First Friday at the Art District."
White Canes, Cameras, Action (Guide Dogs Welcome Too) is the motto of the festival, with headquarters in Tallahassee's Art District. This year's organizers say (along with Fox) they are excited to bring a lineup of influencers (who are blind) to celebrate filmmaking in Tallahassee.
The scene features a well known skater and paralympian hopeful (who is blind) Anthony Ferraro, with nearly a half million YouTube Subscribers.
Those joining the filming as EXTRAS are asked to cheer at the side of the skate park, may receive free Tshirts (to wear for the filming), and receive many high fives from the blind film crew.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of this film, Fox says, is that the audience sees specific points of view from the blind actor simulated on screen, showing different types of blindness, specifically educating the public on the blindness spectrum.
Enjoy free films outdoors by blind filmmakers near the skate park at the conclusion of filming April 7th.
The Blind CAN Film Festival also extends the following day (April 8th) hosting music and films throughout the Arts District.
Festival Goers can see feature films all day long in the Mickee Faust Theatre, visit the Able Artists Gallery to see the film that started it all (playing on loop), see Short Films at Cap City Video Lounge, and you will want to hear the outdoor music by the BLIND in the Art Garden and Craft House (all in the Art District) from brunch at 10:30 AM and for closing ceremonies starting at 8:30 PM, details at www.blindCAN.org.
There are also fun free activities in the Art Garden, like Beeping, Blindfolded Cornhole, and a Coloring INSIDE the raised lines (with your EYES CLOSED) contest.
Musical talent Bill McCANN from Philadelphia (who created Braille Music for the Blind) founder of Dancing Dots is performing original songs live, backed by local musicians of all Abilities, with the video footage to be merged into a film about his life.
Also joining the festivities is host of "the Wellness CALL IN show" Sussane Cesana, flying to Tallahassee to co host the festival and for filming an Episode of her show in front of a live audience in Blind CAN Studios.
Another Cohost for the festival is competitive athlete Mike Tubiak, who is blind from Hartford Connecticut and host of "the RP SHOW", who recently completed the New York Marathon and is about to travel for the London Marathon. He is coming to Tallahassee to challenge the blindness community to join him for a workout, cheering him along on his way to London as part of the film about the journey.
"Blind Filmmaking is something that surprises people," says Fox. "I was told to prepare for blindness as a teenager and wish I would have known that filmmaking is possible while blind," says Fox.
The eye surgeries started for Fox just after he had a short film premiere at the Sundance GenY Theatre when at 18, during the 2001 Sundance Film Festival.
From there it became his mission to start the Blind Can Film Festival so others can easily find examples of filmmakers making films about awesome people who blind and doing amazing things in the world.
"I am legally blind right now, with a few years left to see anything, seeing through a shrinking tunnel... I am making the absolute best of that time, I am making films... AND when I am fully blind, I will still be making films... I know that now," says Fox.
Currently in production, Fox plans to submit the scripted film "How I SEE IT" to Sundance Film Festival 2025, along with the film about his own journey: "Sundance KID: the Blind Filmmaker".
Fox says he hopes to include a reunion of all of the 2001 Sundance GenY filmmakers, as part of the film about his own story, "Sundance KID: the Blind Filmmaker".
"The last time we saw each other we were 18 years old, and I would like to see them again, maybe at next year's Blind Can Film Festival or maybe even at the next Sundance Film Festival," says Fox.
The Blind CAN Film Festival, influencers from around the country, and the local blindness community
Celebrating the 3rd Annual Blind CAN Film Festival, kicked off with a live filmming of a blind skater, by a blind filmcrew
First Friday / April 7th, 2023
Tallassee Florida Art District
To show the world that the BLIND CAN
with all our hearts!
Blind Skater / Anthony Ferraro from Newark NJ
Blind Filmmaker / Ben Fox from Tallahassee FL
Blind Marathoner / Michael Tubiak from Hartford CN
Blind Musician (created braille music software) / Bill McCANN from Philadelphia PA
Blind Wellness Guru / Susanne Cesanna from Glastonbury CN