Get-hooked February 1, 2021
Film ‘Making Sense’ starring people with disabilities representing 5 senses to premiere at Boston SciFi
Making Sense is the first independent feature film starring people with disabilities representing five primary senses. The film will premiere at the Boston SciFi, also known as The Boston Science Fiction Film Festival from 10 to 15 February.
An ageing neuroscientist grappling with the deterioration of his cognitive senses teams up with graduate students to prove his hypothesis that individuals with disabilities hold the key to unlocking a sixth sense.
That’s the theme of Making Sense, an independent film which is the first to feature five people with disabilities, each of them lacking one of the primary senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell.
The film will be visually screened at the 46th Annual Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival on 11 February. The festival is the longest running genre film festival in the United States and is back for its 46th year in a virtual environment with online screenings. There will be 100 films screened over five days.
Film screening on 11 February
Making Sense is based on the science of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to re-wire itself to compensate for a missing or diminished sense. One of the early pioneers of this was Paul Bach-y-Rita who developed the concept of sensory substitution in the 1960s to treat patients with disabilities, often those caused by neurological problems. One of the first applications of sensory substitution he created was a chair which allowed blind people to ‘see’ by using vibrating plates on the user’s back. Today, sensory therapies are used commonly to treat recovering stroke victims to aid in the re-wiring of their brains.
In Making Sense, people with disabilities representing the five physical senses played roles with their respective diminished senses. The film aims to change the perception of people of disabilities from being “damaged” to those with enlightened senses in other areas.
We’ve created something fun and entertaining that helps turn the disability equation on its head. Instead of focusing on disability, the film exemplifies the unique abilities our diverse cast brings to the table. – Gregory Bayne, Director-Producer-Co-writer, Making Sense
Making Sense, adds Bayne, was an opportunity to pay homage to the films that inspired him in his youth like Tron, WarGames, and Back to The Future, “in a fresh and interesting way.”
The cast features Richard Klautsch and Jessi Melton in the lead roles. Klautsch is a veteran stage actor while Melton has starred in several short, independent films before landing the role of Jules in an open audition that drew over a hundred actors.
Newcomers play 5 senses
Five acting newcomers play supporting roles representing the five physical senses. They are Mike Barnett (sight), Taylor Gonzalez (hearing), Miguel Ayala (taste), Makenzie Ellsworth (touch), and Nyk Fry (smell). They were cast after open auditions.
The characters in the film range from a quadriplegic college student to an elderly blind man who overcome societal challenges and personal fear to successfully participate in a series of experiments aimed at uncovering senses that border on the “superhuman”. Making Sense is envisioned as a cross between the films On Golden Pond and Stranger Things. There’s a mixture of humour, science fiction and poignant moments to leave the audience with a different perception of the abilities of people with disabilities.
Making Sense bucks the trend of disability being underrepresented in films. Only 2.7% of characters in the 100 highest-earning movies of 2016 were depicted with a disability, despite 20% of the U.S. reporting a disability. This is according to a study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, 2017.
Making Sense has also engaged top production talent in Idaho to provide mentorship to aspiring filmmakers in the community with a special emphasis on people with disabilities. Understudies in the following disciplines are learning the craft through working hands-on with the film.
Many non-profits were involved in the making of the film. These include Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP), Boise State, One State, Idaho Parents Unlimited, IncludeAbility Inc., Idaho Education Services for the Deaf and the Blind, Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
Tickets for Making Sense are available here.
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