Local film exploring different perspectives in marriage to be made for seeing, blind viewers

photo by: Contributed photo

A man walks down a path in an image used in the film "Before An Immense Sky" by Meg Jamieson, a University of Kansas filmmaker.

A film by a University of Kansas filmmaker exploring the concept of different perspectives between married people will be made for both viewers who can see and viewers who are blind or visually impaired.

“Before An Immense Sky” by Meg Jamieson, an assistant professor for KU’s film and media department, explores the solitude and distance between two people who are happily married or are in any other relationship where two people build a life together.

Jamieson’s film is one of 11 artistic projects to receive funding from the 2019 Rocket Grant Awards, which are awarded by KU’s Spencer Museum of Art and Charlotte Street Foundation. The awards are given annually to projects in and around the Kansas City area that cannot be viewed in an ordinary art setting.

Jamieson said she married her husband Jamie Walters 10 years ago. When they first married, Jamieson said she heard an adage that explained the best thing two people can do for each other is protect each other’s solitude, and if one person “blends” with the other, it is a detriment for both.

“There’s this idea that you can feel very lonely next to another person,” Jamieson said. “Sometimes those two solitudes are such an incredible strength and blessing, and not just something that makes you lonely but lets you be yourself inside this union with another person. But at the same time you are these strangers trying to make this happen together.”

The film’s footage includes images Jamieson has captured of her life with Walters over the last 10 years.

“It’s a poetic documentation,” she said.

Additionally, the film explores the different perspectives of those who view it because it will be presented in two formats. When people come to view the film, those with sight will be able to see the footage of the film but will hear nothing, while those who are visually impaired won’t be able to see any of the footage, but will hear audio descriptions of them. That way, the viewers and the listeners will both see “accurate but subjective” versions of the film, Jamieson said.

“To me, that’s a lot like being married to someone,” Jamieson said. “You’re both having an experience, and your experiences are both accurate and subjective, but not necessarily the same.”

With the $6,000 of grant, Jamieson said she will fund KU’s Audio-Reader program, which provides reading and information services for the visually impaired, to create the film’s descriptive recording.

Lori Kensinger, outreach coordinator for Audio-Reader, said Jamieson’s film will help highlight the the services Audio-Reader provides.

“I’m excited because it’s a really great opportunity for Audio-Reader to showcase audio description, description of live theater and the various ways you can make visual items accessible for individuals with vision loss,” Kensinger said.

Jamieson said she hopes to premier the film at Audio-Reader sometime in the fall. She said she still needs to work out the way the film will be projected, which the grant funding will help sort out.

“(The grants) make a pretty huge impact in the arts scene,” she said. “I’m delighted to be part of it.”

Other Lawrence-based projects to receive grants include:

• Pop Up Art Adventure Playground by Richard Renner, Frank Shopen and Matt Lord. This project is a series of venues for children in underserved neighborhoods of Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City, Kansas, to build their own pop-up playgrounds and make artistic creations. The project received a $6,000 grant.

• I Heart Local Music Magazine by Fally Afani. This project is a Lawrence-based print magazine focusing on local music and showcasing musicians of all genders and ethnicities. The project received a $6,000 grant.

• Airplanes by Benjamin Wills. This project will create a digital archive of a collection of paper airplanes Wills received from prisoners. The projects received a $4,250 grant.

Contact Dylan Lysen

Have a story idea, news or information to share? Contact University of Kansas, higher education, state government reporter Dylan Lysen:


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