Notes on Blindness


Filmmakers James Spinney and Peter Middleton set out to accomplish a seemingly impossible task—visually capturing the internal essence of blindness. Their entry point is writer and theologian John Hull, who, between 1983 and 1986, kept a series of audio diaries that documented his experience after losing his eyesight. Oliver Sacks described the work as “the most extraordinary, precise, deep and beautiful account of blindness I have ever read. It is to my mind a masterpiece.” Using Hull’s remarkable insights and unsentimental articulations about going blind, Spinney and Middleton craft a film of breathtaking vision and innovation.

Painstakingly recreating Hull’s life during the early 1980s, Notes on Blindness re-imagines both the realities of his deteriorating condition as well as his more ephemeral and abstract feelings about his life, as it slipped into a new, altered state of being. The result is a powerful ode to the beauty of words and the imagination, where surreal landscapes and elegantly detailed reenactments blend into a visceral, surreal, one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

This project is also a VR experience. See page Notes on Blindness - Into Darkness for more information.

YEAR 2016

SECTION NF Films & Performances

COUNTRY United Kingdom/France

RUN TIME 87 min



PHONE 201.704.1382


Executive Producer
Production Designer
Co Producer
Co Executive Producer
Casting Director
Sound Designer

Artist Bio

Peter Middleton and James Spinney

Peter Middleton and James Spinney have co-directed award-winning fiction films and documentaries that include Rainfall, winner of the 2013 Best Short Documentary Award at Hot Docs (Toronto), and the Emmy Award-winning short film Notes on Blindness, which was commissioned by The New York Times and premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.