Ibón Casas was diagnosed at a very young age with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that, over the years, would deprive him of his sense of sight. But he did not stand still, he made noise and the film ‘Turn off the light and you’ll see’ tells his history of overcoming with and thanks to music. The pandemic didn’t allow him to show the film through live events, but now he picks up where he left off.
The film deals with the life of Ibón Casas, a rocker from San Sebastián-Donosti, with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease. The title of the documentary, produced by BrightVibes Spain, is inspired by a song written and composed by Ibón, who soon will be completely blind and which has more than 40 versions played by different artists.
Aiming to be the first fully accessible film, it counts with subtitles, but also with audio description and it is adapted to the sign language for the deaf carried out by CESYA. All this, thanks to the ecosystem of professionals who have produced the film and who support different accessibilities.
The film was presented in the town of Hernani in 2020, and shortly after, in the Film and Human Rights Showcase organized by the City Council of Donosti and was selected to participate in the Zaragoza Film Festival 2020. In addition, it was broadcast on ETB, on the occasion of World Retinitis Pigmentosa Day, last September 29, Euskaltel and is currently available on Filmin.
He is, therefore, the first blind musician in history who has managed to turn one of his songs into a professional film, and fully accessible, to fight against blindness worldwide. The piece is directed by Axel O’Mill, winner of the 2016 Goya Award for Best Documentary Short Film.
On wednesday November 3rd, thanks to the support of Fundación Vital Fundazioa, Vital Fundazioa Kulturunea hosted the documentary film ‘Turn off the light and you’ll see’ in the capital of Alaval. A film that is inspired by the song of the rock musician Ibón Casas, main character of the production, as well as the inclusion of visually impaired people. From 19:00 in the evening, and for two hours, the public was able to enjoy the presence of Ibón Casas, and the producers and scriptwriters of the film.
The event was opened by the president of the Vital Foundations, Jon Urresti, who after congratulating the organization for the project, gave the floor to Aletxu Echevarria founder of the BrightVibes film production company, the comedian Óscar Terol, and the presenter Julian Iantzi, who dedicated a few words to the film and its cause. "Oscar Terol approached the BrightVibes office in Spain to share with us Ibón Casas’ story of self-improvement," explained Aletxu Echevarría. "We realized right away that DameTVision’s values were a perfect fit for us."
Soon after, the BrightVibes production company decided to promote and produce this documentary film and tell Ibón’s story. In addition, together with Fundación Vital Fundazioa, "it will lead us to continue promoting the need to make accessibility visible and to spread and raise awareness about retinitis pigmentosa", explained Aletxu Echevarría.
As for the audience, they came out grateful after the viewing of the documentary film and the show with music performed by Ibón Casas. “I didn’t know his history, but now I’m going to follow him in everything he does”, said one of the attendees right after leaving the theatre: “As Ibón says, we have to make noise”. Others highlighted the musicians’ strength to keep going despite the circumstances, “he’s such an inspiration”.
FOUNDATION VITAL FUNDAZIOA
"Solidarity, inclusion, constant fight to overcome". Words that the president of the Vital Foundations, Jon Urresti, highlighted last week regarding the film and for which they decided to join the project ‘Turn off the light and you will see’. "Those are the values to spread, and more so after a pandemic that has made us more selfish," he explained at Vital Fundazioa Kulturunea, the cultural center that the social entity has in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
“We have taken great care of ourselves, our family, our social environment… At most we ask our friends: ‘How are you doing’," Urresti explained. For this reason, he encourages society to give everything to those outside of the social circles, but who still need support; like Ibón Casas. He has also valued those people who are already doing for others, without expecting anything in return.
Fundación Vital Fundazioa develops its activity from a solidarity and contemporary perspective, promoting social, economic and cultural progress in the Territory. It manages programs of social and welfare nature, as well as educational, cultural, sports and actions for the benefit of the elderly.
DameTVision has the path of helping to spread in society what retinitis pigmentosa is. Thanks to Ibón Casas it has been possible to put a face and story to this little known disease. You can also collaborate with this or other organisations, initiatives or projects near and far from home.