2013-2014 © SONSOL PRODUCTIONS LLC

[ SYNOPSIS ]


Thirteen-year-old Imani Cortes is a gifted photographer longing to experience her first kiss. She has a crush on a quiet artist, Junito, with whom she has a natural connection, but she also faces an enormous challenge: she is slowly losing her sight to retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease. Will Imani let her disease stop her or be the path to independence?


Shot on 35 mm film, the short tells the story from the unique perspective of visually impaired Imani. Set in Spanish Harlem, the film portrays this vibrant and dynamic New York Latino community.


Curated from more than 2870 submissions, CLOSE YOUR EYES is one of 60 short films screening at Tribeca this year. At the festival, the short screens in, UNLIMITED RIDE, a New York shorts program that takes audiences on a journey through Manhattan and into the boroughs to meet some unique individuals trying to survive in the city.


As preparation for the film, Sonia Malfa and Lisa Rinzler (cinematographer) volunteered to teach a summer video production workshop to a group of visually impaired teenage students at Lighthouse International, a resource and advocacy organization for the visually impaired. Here they met Kimberly Lora, a creative, talented student who has Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an inherited retinal degenerative disease.


Exciting newcomer making her acting debut, Kimberly Lora, a high school student at New York Institute for Special Education, plays Imani Cortes. Rounding out the exclusively Latino cast of seasoned professionals and non-professional actors is Victor Cruz (HOUSE OF CARDS, THE TAKING PELHAM 1:23, BLUE BLOODS, 30 ROCK), playing Mr. Hernandez. Seasoned and celebrated Latina comedian (LATINA DIVAS OF COMEDY) and actress Sara Contreras plays Rosa Cortes, Imani's mother. Rhina Valentin plays Luisa, Imani’s photography teacher. Known as La Reina del Barrio, Rhina hosts the popular Bronx show OPEN. And also making his acting debut is Julian Fernandez-Kemp, a high student at New York Harbor School, who plays Imani’s love interest Junito.


CLOSE YOUR EYES is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Kickstarter and in-kind support from various companies including Panavision New York, Fuji Film, Nightshift Paris/Los Angeles, Sonic Union, MCM Productions, Wits End and the People’s DP.