Step into the world of Ásrún Hauksdóttir and Brynja Arthúrsdóttir, two fiercely independent, optimistic, and easygoing blind women who know how to find the humor in life. Follow them at work and play, through good times and bad.
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With Open Eyes

25%
  • Filming
  • Script
  • Editing
  • Audio post-production
  • Color correction
  • Theatrical premiere
  • Promotion
  • Television premiere

Further Information

At the beginning of the film, nothing in particular points to the two women being blind, but viewers gradually come to that realization. Various sounds are magnified, the senses emphasized. As Ásrún works at her massage studio and Brynja prepares for a dinner party, viewers get to know the two women’s innermost selves and their views on life, hear stories from their past and their thoughts about the future. There are no staged interviews here; rather, the film presents the two women in as natural an environment as possible, interspersed with light conversation.

Ásrún working at her massage studio at the Blind Association.

Brynja getting ready for a dinner party.

Trailer for the material from 2002.

Quite a lot has changed over the course of 20 years. Ásrún and Brynja, both in their late seventies, are retired. Ásrún is the proud grandmother of two boys and Brynja is active in her community, reads the paper online, and is in a book club. The goal of the film is to follow along with them, to see how their worlds have changed and how they live their lives.

The film travels back and forth between 2002 and 2022/23, dives deeper into their lives and background, all the while maintaining a straightforward tone and focusing on the women’s daily lives.

About the subjects
Ásrún has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which was discovered when she was about twenty and gradually robbed her of her sight. Ásrún is a trained nurse and massage therapist and operated her own massage studio at the Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired in Reykjavík for years. She has one grown daughter and two grandchildren. She lives in a little house in Þingholt downtown Reykjavík alongside her dog Mía, a Papillon. Twenty years ago, she had two Pekingese dogs. While quite easygoing, Ásrún is also an optimistic, hard-working woman who doesn’t let her disability impact her daily life.

Ásrún in 1963, shortly before learning she would eventually lose her sight.

Brynja developed a rheumatic illness around the age of twenty that caused her to lose her vision at the age of 29. She can only hear out of one ear and suffers from arthritis. Brynja is unmarried, has no children, and lives alone. She is exceptionally positive, optimistic, and quick to laugh. Brynja previously worked as a social worker’s assistant at Reykjarlundur rehabilitation center, is passionate about cooking, and is quite a fine cook herself. In the film, we watch as she prepares for a dinner party. Twenty years later, we follow along as she travels to Portugal – the avid traveler’s 83rd international trip. Brynja is also an art lover, and we join her on a visit to the art museum Kjarvalsstaðir.

Twelve-year-old Brynja with her siblings in 1961. She was around twenty when she began to lose her sight.

Both Ásrún and Brynja consented to participate in this ongoing documentary project. During filming, in 2022, Ásrún became seriously ill and has since passed away. Filming was completed in spring 2023 when the filmmaker followed Brynja, who has always enjoyed traveling both in Iceland and abroad, on a trip to Cascais, Portugal.

Brynja looks out to the ocean at Hotel Baia in Cascais. It was important to her to have a room with an ocean view so she could smell the salt spray and hear the waves.

Ásrún celebrated her final birthday with her daughter and two grandsons, rays of sunshine in her life.

Goals of the film
-Provide insight into the experience of blind individuals – or, in this case, into the experience of two independent blind women. Is their world different from the world of others? Do they experience their lives differently after losing their sight? Does losing your vision mean your life is “over”?
-Improve understanding of what it is like to be blind. The film offers a glimpse into the two women’s daily lives, which helps viewers put themselves in their shoes.
-Examine whether the women’s other senses have grown stronger and how their daily lives differ since becoming blind.

Behind the Scenes
Elín Lilja Jónasdóttir got the idea about filming the two blind women after winning best film for her graduation project at the Icelandic Film School in 2001. She wrote the script and both filmed and directed it in the summer of 2002. Now she is working on finalizing the film for a 2024 premier as a co-producer, along with Ásta Sól.

Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir restarted the film in cooperation with Elín Lilja in January 2022 and thus filmed Ásrún and Brynja again after 20 years.
Ásta Sól is director and DOP of the newer material. She has previously made four documentaries and has decades of experience in project management.

Ísak Jónsson editor has vast experience editing both tv and film. He is also designer of RetinAid Tapletop, an accessibility app for iPhone and Android which assists the blind and visually impaired to play boardgames. Ísak has great knowledge in matters regarding the subject since his teenage son is blind.

The Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired (Icel. Blindrafélagið) has pledged a sizeable donation toward the film.
Nevertheless, we need your support to see this project through as we plan to hold the premiere in spring 2024.

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Seeking funding

Fund this project

This project will only be funded if €10000 or more is pledged before 2024-03-11 00:00.

€6,212

raised of €10,000 goal

9

days to go

66

Backers

62% FUNDED
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