While exposing the wonders of darkness through the eyes of a visually impaired artist, Resight is a tale of a painting and pride that refuses to be tagged or labelled.
A documentary that suggests revising the notion of disability, and recognizing the art of chasing a ‘vision.’
Writer/director/producer: Sama Waham
I am thrilled to have explored the brilliant world of blind artists and witness what happens when a pure ‘vision’ evolves into fascinating paintings and photographs.
As one of many, I was intrigued by the fact that a visually-impaired person can become an artist, compete with fully-sighted people and win numerous contests and competitions. The thing that just made me pause in front of the word ‘disabled.’
The flow and message of the film was strongly inspired by Yvonne’s personality and demeanor – a story not of pity and a challenged blind woman, but of pride and of a talented artist who chose to disregard what others see as boundaries, and unleash art out of a very dark room of expectations and definitions.
Yvonne’s story takes us into a journey with colours, brushes and bare-hand painting, gradually revealing her inner strength and decision to challenge all the assumptions about her ability to learn what no one thought she could achieve, and exceed everyone’s expectations with her talent and determination.
In addition to Yvonne’s story, we are also introduced to Richard Holloway – a visually-impaired photographer and a supporting character in the film who also describes his vision and voices as another perspective of the relativity of ‘sight.’
Through Yvonne Felix – the main subject of the film – I was also fortunate to meet a number of visually-impaired children who participated in the workshop, allowed us to film them and had such a profound and forceful impact on the development of the story.
They join Yvonne and tell their own little tales transparently, without any filters or fear of being tagged with a definition.
The new dimension that the children added to the film with their uncorrupted views of the world brought another powerful statement, and I think that it formed the resolution of the relativity paradox.
The film unveils the dreamy beauty behind what many perceive as a disease or a disability by portraying an imaginary ‘visually impaired’ point of view that mimics Yvonne’s description of her own blind spot, symbolizing the relativity of vision and limitlessness of talent and will.
The film has various layers and more than one climax. The first one ends with Yvonne’s artistic victory over her battle with reluctance as to how far her vision loss can get her – illustrated by her decision to overcome everyone’s doubts and curiosity about her blind spot – by simply doing what she does best to answer them, and painting it.
I also wanted to question the relativity of sight and vision in an artist’s mind and perspective by diving into their vision and mimicking their descriptions of limited sight or blind spot in an attempt to understand the brilliance and prodigy behind that hindered sense.
The experiment resulted in a radiant abstract imagery that I think complemented the overall fusion and was sensitive to a story that is essentially about art, vision and sight.
Resight was a result of the tireless dedication of a team that was moved by the stories they were capturing and representing.
We all agreed on one thing at the end: it’s never been about sight.
About Sama Waham
Sama Waham is an award-winning director, producer and cinematographer.
Her films have screened in numerous festivals in Canada, USA, Europe and the Middle East including Hot Docs and various others gaining numerous international awards and nominations.
Sama was featured in the Canadian Cinematographer Magazine in 2012, and was nominated for the Robert Brooks Director of Photography Award at the Canadian Society of Cinematographers in 2014.
Along with continuing her career as a filmmaker, she has a master’s degree in film production from York University and has worked as a cinematography, film production and documentary film instructor.