Visually Impaired Persons Attended "The Coach" Documentary Screening

“The Coach”, documentary film by Olga Abramchik, was screened today in Cinema City within the second edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival. “The Coach” is a film is about the Belarus national football team for the blind and visually impaired persons. This screening was special, given that AJB DOC, in cooperation with “Novis” Association, prepared an audio description of the film, thus allowing a large number of blind and visually impaired persons to attend the film screening.

“The Coach” is a story about Oleg Kirilov, the coach of an unusual team – a team who plays intuitive football. His players are members of the Belarus national team for the blind, and each of them ended up on the football pitch due to different reasons, but all with the same goal – to keep the status of national champions. Kirilov grew up in a family with disabled persons and knows how to communicate with his blind players. He is not just their coach, but also a friend. Sound design plays an important role in this film, because it completely reconstructs the acoustic ambiance for the players, in which they move using sound by reacting to the sounds of the ball and coach’s instructions.

Audio description was prepared for this film as a way to assist the blind and visually impaired persons, which included adjusting the film contents for them. This made it possible for the blind persons, by using additional film scenes, to experience and recognize the film sounds and visual elements as a meaningful part of the dramatic plot. That way the audio description expands the experiential specter for the blind and visually impaired persons and helps them understand the complexity and stratification of the artistic performance and creative vision, and opens for them a new perspective for experiencing the work of art which was not possible before.

At the initiative of AJB DOC, “Novis” Association prepared the audio description for the film “The Coach”. This association currently focuses on raising awareness of human rights through inclusion of marginalized groups in culture, art and sport activities.

The audio description was prepared by Vehid Hajduković and Ivana Pekušić, the text was narrated by Alen Džebo and the film translation was read by Igor Skvarica.

 The Association notes that trained playwrights, actors (as narrators) and blind persons (as narration editors) participated in preparing the audio description by selecting the most relevant information and verbalizing them in a vivid way that entices the listeners’ imagination, without disturbing dialogues or other important audio information. The prepared text of the audio description was recorded with actors and edited in a professional audio postproduction studio to make the product quality and possible to be screened in cinema. During the film screening, the blind and visually impaired audience, along with the film sound, listens to the previously recorded narration with the use of additional headphones, and in that way receives all information relevant to following the film and the atmosphere without disturbing the rest of the audience that is watching the film with the audio description.

 Al Jazeera Balkans and AJB DOC organized and supported all aspects of preparing this special screening that received a lot of interest from the public, and besides the Festival audience, students of the Center for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth in Sarajevo were present at the screening, as well as other visually impaired citizens.