As a visual storyteller, I am interested in the different ways people experience and interpret the world.

With CLOSE YOUR EYES, I hope the audience discovers the world of the visually impaired from their perspective. The project evolved from my volunteer experience at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), where I confronted my own misconceptions about blindness.

At ABF, I was introduced to the work of several visually impaired photographers such as Kurt Weston, Gerardo Nigenda, Bruce Hall and Peter Eckert. These incredible photographers are the inspiration for this story.

My goal was to cast a visually impaired actress as the lead. As preparation for the film, cinematographer Lisa Rinzler and I taught a summer video production workshop to a group of visually impaired teenagers at Lighthouse International, a resource and advocacy organization for the visually impaired. Here, we met Kimberly Lora who was an exceptionally creative, intelligent

student. Kimberly, who has Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an inherited retinal degenerative disease characterized by severe loss of vision at birth, makes her acting debut as the lead role of Imani Cortes in CLOSE YOUR EYES.

CLOSE YOUR EYES is the first step toward developing and directing the feature film, which follows Imani's challenges and triumphs.  In the feature, Imani pursues her dream to become a photographer while learning to live with her changing vision from retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and often blindness.