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    Mastercard and H+Co’s film for low vision audiences hits festival circuit

    Following its premiere at the Westpac OpenAir cinemas in February, Mastercard’s Australian-first motion picture without pictures, Touch, is now being taught in film schools and entering the international film festival circuit.

    Developed in partnership with Westpac and brought to life through Dolby 7.1 sound, ‘Touch’ is geared towards blind and low vision audiences (BLV). Inclusive filmmaking organisation, Bus Stop Films, also consulted and supported the production as Mastercard’s inclusion partner.

    Directed by Australian director, Tony Krawitz, and Oscar-nominated sound mixer, Wayne Pashley, the film follows the story of young man, Ben, and his two friends, Naomi and Mo, who get trapped in the consciousness of Ben’s unusual father, Frank, after an experiment gone wrong.

    To escape his mind, the trio must embark on an adventure through Frank’s memories, learning more about a man they thought they knew along the way, and more about themselves, too.

    The production and creative was led by Mastercard’s agency parter, Howatson+Company, with the creative agency bringing together BLV and non-BLV collaborators from around the world. TBWA Group’s Eleven PR took charge of the earned media strategy and delivery, while We Are Social managed the social strategy and execution.

    Mastercard’s in-house integrated marketing communications team took on the overarching responsibility for project management.

    Since its premiere, Touch has started to be taught in film schools including AFTRS, wth plans to progress its roll-out in cinemas and festivals globally in 2024 and beyond.

    Julie Nestor, Mastercard’s executive vice president and head of marketing and communications for Asia Pacific, said the film “represents an important step in Mastercard’s multi-sensory journey, embodying its commitment to inclusion.

    “Collaborating closely with key stakeholders, alongside blind and low vision crew members and inclusion partners, Mastercard navigated uncharted territory to create a powerful cinematic experience.”

    Howatson+Company ECD, Gavin Chimes, said the team pulled out all the stops to create an immersive film unlike any that has come before it, “from an original audio-first screenplay to Dolby Atmos sound design to cinematic scores composed by members of the blind and low vision community.”

    “Working with Mastercard and our incredible production partners, we reimagined how a film can be created for everyone, including people who are blind or have low vision,” added Chimes.

    Deb Deshayes, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, which consulted on the project, stated that, “it’s crucial to have entertainment that not only considers people who are blind or vision impaired, but also involves them in the whole development process.

    “To have a film like TOUCH is an important step towards building a more inclusive future that will allow 500,000+ Australians to enjoy content like everyone else.”

    The initiative followed Westpac’s move earlier this year to become the first Australian issuer to roll out accessible cards with the Mastercard Touch Card feature. The design system is made of simple yet distinct tactile notches to help BLV individuals differentiate their credit, debit and prepaid cards. 

    See also: Mastercard and Westpac partner for pictureless film powered by sound


    Client: Mastercard

    Creative and production: Howatson+Company
    Earned: Eleven
    Social: We Are Social
    Paid: McCann
    Media: Carat

    Production company: Heckler Sound
    Executive producer: Bonnie Law
    Partner/creative Director: Johnny Green
    Head of sound: Dave Robertson

    Inclusion partner: Bus Stop Films 

    Cast and crew:
    Director: Tony Krawtiz
    Directors attachment: Benjamin Phillips

    Ben: Alexander England
    Naomi: Maeve Dermody
    Mo: Adam Briggs
    Frank: David Field
    Young Frank: Kyzen Petelo
    Sarah: Hannah Waterman
    Murray: John Waters
    Casting: Stevie Ray CGA
    Casting assistant: Michelle Ny
    Casting director Attachment: Lily Mitchell

    Sound department:
    Sound studio: Heckler Sound
    Executive producer: Bonnie Law
    Supervising sound editor: Wayne Pashley (Big Bang Sound Design)
    Re-recording mixer: Dave Robertson
    Sound post co-ordinator:  Libby Villa (Big Bang Sound Design)
    Sound editors: Jared Dwyer, Nick Keate, Dave Robertson and Chris Doherty
    Foley artists: Jared Dwyer, Eliza Jayne South, Jack Okeby
    ADR recordist: Dan Hackett
    Dialogue editors: Derryn Pasquill and Dan Hackett
    Assistant dialogue editor – Max Pashley

    Music by Stare Crazy
    Composed and performed by:
    Amy Andersen
    Reggie Beer
    Judith Brandenburg
    Jonathan Dreyfus
    Meggy Freidhof
    Stefan Janik
    Daniel Müller

    The post Mastercard and H+Co’s film for low vision audiences hits festival circuit appeared first on Mediaweek.

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