film media

Blind Man Walking

Just a very short note to mention a documentary showing at the IFI this Sunday. Blind Man Walking features Mark Pollock (pictured), the blind adventurer that just won’t quit. I met Mark while doing a feature on him ahead of his race to the South Pole, in which he became the first blind man to reach the bottom of the world on foot. He had previously run several ultra-marathons including the Everest Marathon, the Gobi March and other unmentionably long endurance races. Blizzards and white-out conditions meant little to him because he couldn’t see anyway, he said.

We hit it off, and after he got back, and I’d shifted a business, we started working together on some things including sponsorship pitches, his website, revamping the copy and figuring out the best way for Mark to begin using social media to further his business, despite his blindness. Like everything, he took to it like the proverbial duck, and was tweeting away no end once he got his mitts on an iPhone. Himself and Mick Liddy, with whom he did the Round Ireland yacht race earlier this year, videoblogged their race and the prep for as long as they had battery, all of which is stashed on the team’s facebook page, here.

The documentary will be screened without Mark being present, however, due to a fall he sustained not long after finishing the Round Ireland. Mark’s currently battling away in physio in the UK with his usual can-do outer skin on, just taking every day as it comes, surmounting challenges as they appear. It’s in his nature.

The doco was shot by Ross Whitaker, an award-winning Irish filmmaker and a good friend of Mark’s, and he’ll be doing a Q&A session after the event, which should be interesting. Mark has a capability to talk and talk and talk without any noticeable pause, which makes editing film of him in flow a real challenge. When I made a short intro film for their Round Ireland challenge (below the fold) I had to tell Mark to shut up and stick to the script. Repeatedly. I needed short, snappy, editable soundbites, not ineresting but meandering philosopical observations. That, apparently, was the style that Ross encouraged when Mark was doing diary pieces for the documentary. But they had an hour to fill. I had four minutes.

I watched Mark as he took on the challenge of the Round Ireland, dealing, in a very short timeframe, with the multiple challenges of sponsorship, equipment, and the little challenge of learning to sail from scratch. All the while, he was self-analyzing and seeking out any tiny opportunity for personal growth, and relating fresh obstacles to ones he’d conquered in the past. It was an impressive show, and a small challenge in comparison to walking to the South Pole. And no doubt, rendered in glossy imagery on a big screen, Blind Man Walking will bring all that to life.

Go BOOK IT.

Introducing Team Daft from Markham Nolan on Vimeo.

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