Light Darkness Light
Landon is an Emmy Award winning director, Fulbright Scholar, and two-time Sundance Fellow. He strives to create intimate documentary portraits, whose human stories illuminate larger social issues and themes.
IN THE NEWS
Landon Van Soest Crowdfunding for Artificial Retina Documentary
Brooklyn hosts World Sight Day with documentary film
ABOUT THE FILM
Light Darkness Light is a documentary film that tracks the life-altering experience of a blind man or woman as they regain the ability to see. The film tracks a medical procedure known as an artificial retina implant, a revolutionary approach is utilizing unprecedented breakthroughs in bionics to restore sight to the blind for the first time in human history. Through pioneering camera techniques and intimate narrative storytelling, the film aims to provide audiences with an experiential journey through the process of losing sight and developing a new concept of vision.
When I first heard about retinal prosthesis a few years ago it seemed like a far off goal—more science fiction than medical reality. After seeing images of electronic devices implanted directly into the visual cortex of the brain, I began to imagine what it would be like to perceive the world solely through bionic data. My first impulse was to write a fictional script about the experience, but just as I began research, the FDA approved a device known as the “Argus II Artificial Retina Prosthesis.” The FDA approval meant that the device would soon be available to tens of thousands of blind people, history was being made and a documentary became a possible.
As a documentary film, the artificial retina presents a perfect storm of elements: first, a truly historic marriage of medicine and technology, or as the New York Times said recently, “one of science’s most sought after holy grails: making the blind see.” Second, a true-life story of human transformation. In most cases, candidates for the artificial retina will have been blind for their entire adult lives, the process of regaining vision is sure to be a dramatic, life changing experience. Finally, as a film about alternate forms of vision, the film presents a world of visual opportunities that any visual artist would salivate over.
The film aims to create an intimate and sensitive portrait of one person as they go through the entire process of an artificial retina implant, from their selection for the procedure, to the implant itself, and the gradual process of learning to see with the device. We plan to employ a variety of pioneering camera techniques, including the use of motion and depth sensor cameras, to represent the experience of at various stages of the process. Cutting between this imagery and rich documentary footage, the film will explore broader themes in vision, technology, and human perception.
The next artificial retina implants in North America will take place as part of a clinical study at Toronto Western Hospital in partnership with the Foundation Fighting Blindness in Canada. I have been working closely with the doctors at Toronto Western who will be performing the procedure and guiding the rehabilitation process as patients regain the ability to see. I have also been working with the Foundation Fighting Blindness, who will be identifying candidates for the procedure.
The trial is expected to begin as early as November of 2013 and because the process moves so quickly—it will likely be a matter of weeks between candidate selection and surgery, and the impact of the implant will be seen within 6-8 weeks of surgery—we need your support to track the process. All donations in this campaign will go to cover the expenses of production and crew in Toronto before, during, and after the implants.
I have been dedicated to making social documentaries for over eight years. My films have gone out to millions of viewers through national broadcasts in eight countries, screened at dozens of international film festivals, and been used in hundreds of colleges, conferences, and social awareness campaigns. My work has received several awards for production and preserving human rights, including an Emmy Award, two fellowships from the Sundance Institute, and a Fulbright Fellowship.
I feel incredibly fortunate to be working with Paul Trillo, a wildly talented director and visual artist with a shared interest in innovative approaches to visual storytelling. Paul and I met as members of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective and have been collaborating frequently on projects that strive to break the mold formally, whether it is a commercial project or visual narrative. We are also very luck to be partnered with Simon Devenyi, a Toronto-based producer with an eye for rich visual storytelling and a seemingly inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm for filmmaking.
Simply put, your support will make this project possible. We have a unique opportunity, in the Fall of 2013, to document a piece of history and bring a message of hope to millions of people living with blindness. We have unprecedented access and support in Toronto and simply need the funds to pursue the production. Because the implants are happening so soon, we don’t have the luxury of applying through standard channels for this level of production funding. We are relying on your to help us make the project happen.
For more information, or to request a full treatment, please visit us at www.transientpictures.com or contact us at 347-725-4956 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU. Our eternal thanks - plus a digital thank you on our Facebook & Twitter! Estimated Delivery: Nov 2013 Supporters: 5
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD OF THE FINISHED FILM. A private link to download the completed film after our festival premiere. Estimated Delivery: Apr 2015 Supporters: 39
SPECIAL THANKS IN THE CREDITS. All of the above plus a special shout out for making the film possible in the credits. Estimated Delivery: Apr 2015 Supporters: 13
PRE-ORDER EDUCATIONAL VERSION. Includes DVD, post cards, posters, and discussion guide to host a community screening. Estimated Delivery: Apr 2015 Supporters: 2 Limited: 98 left
FRAMED MOVIE POSTER. All of the above acknowledgements, plus a framed, signed movie poster as a token of our thanks. Estimated Delivery: Apr 2015 Supporters: 0 Limited: 100 left
PRE-SCREENING EVENT. Everything above plus invitation to a sneak preview of the film in New York or Toronto. Estimated Delivery: Aug 2014 Supporters: 2 Limited: 98 left
TICKETS TO THE PREMIERE. We would love to have you at our film festival premiere and thank you in person! Estimated Delivery: Jan 2015 Supporters: 1 Limited: 9 left
PRESENTING PARTNER. As an integral part of the process, we will credit you as a presenting partner in all publicity. Estimated Delivery: Jan 2015 Supporters: 0