red theater seats in front of a glowing movie screen

An Interview with Blind Documentary Filmmaker David Block

Today on Nearsighted we welcome visually impaired writer, teacher and documentary filmmaker David Block.

Belo Cipriani: How did you lose your vision?

David Block: I was born with congenital Cataracts.

BC: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

DB: In June 1990, I wrote an article about goalball, a team sport played world wide by blind and sight impaired people, which was published in the New York Times (Monday, June 11, 1990). To read the article, click here.

After the article was published, I realized that once someone is finished reading the paper, they forget what they read 5 minutes later. I thought by putting those images on the screen — images of blind people playing sports — people would remember them longer. Seeing is believing, so says the half blind filmmaker.

BC: What types of films do you make?

DB: My documentaries about people overcoming adversity. Please visit my website, and click on the documentaries link for more information.

BC: What is your creative process like?

DB: At times it’s stressful. It feels like there’s a demon in me that won’t leave until the project is done.

BC: Do you use any special software?

DB: I record my conversations with a digital recorder. I use a special pair of reading glasses that magnify the print. I listen to some of my material on my cartridge player and on my computer.

BC: What is casting like as a blind filmmaker?

DB: I make documentaries, not drama. I know the subject ahead of time. I sometimes know about the people I will make the documentary about. I learn about them from writing articles. I do preliminary phone interviews. Then, when it comes time for the shoot, I have an idea of what I will ask on camera and what I will avoid asking.

BC: What are you working on now?

DB: I am working on a film about how horseback riding helps people with disabilities raise self esteem. For more information, please click here.

BC: Do you know of any other blind filmmakers?

DB: No.

BC: Where can people view your work?

DB: Go to my website,


Photo: “Electric Cinema” by Steve N is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Belo Cipriani View more

Belo Cipriani is the award-winning author of Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams. He is a disability advocate, a spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and is currently the national spokesman for 100 Percent Wine -- a premium winery that donates 100 percent of proceeds to nonprofits that help people with disabilities find work.