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Meet the Blind Director Who Makes Movies in Nigeria

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SCENES shines the spotlight on young people around the world who are breaking down barriers and creating change. The character-driven shorts will inspire and amaze as these young changemakers tell their remarkable stories.

Dennis Jonathan Dalyop has made a habit of pushing boundaries and achieving the impossible. From an early age, he suffered from keratoconus, an eye condition that causes blurred vision and blindness. Although he can only see blurry lights and colors, Dennis pursues a career as a director.

“It all started when I was two years old. The doctors couldn’t detect what was wrong with me. We tried so many hospitals, but they told us there was nothing they could do about it. There was nothing wrong with me. There are no drugs or glasses that can correct that,” Dennis recalls.

According to the National Library of Medicine in Washington, USA, more than four million adults under the age of 40 suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment or blindness in Nigeria. Dennis grew up in the poorest northern region of the country, where blindness is more common.

“It’s been hard growing up with this problem. Some people in society look at you as someone they should feel sorry for. There are times when I trip over something and people yell at me,” Dennis says. “There are times when people intentionally do things to see how I’m going to react. I’ve faced a lot of challenges in life, but I haven’t let that limit me,” he adds. .

“I feel like I can lead them to victory”

Her interest in cinema grew out of a love for theater and performance. Dennis initially had limited directing experience, but he had a burning desire to direct. “I’ve realized there’s something in me that wants a job done right. I want to lead these people, and I feel like I can lead them to victory,” Dennis told Scenes.

Filmmaking is a visual craft that generally requires a director to be able to see clearly. To see, Dennis uses his senses of hearing, smell and touch.

“My hearing is my most powerful weapon. When you move, I hear your footsteps, and I count how many steps you have taken. If you are a hundred meters from me, I smell your scent when the wind blows, and I I can tell how far you are from me. I mark points with tape, and when you cross it, I feel it,” Dennis told Scenes.

‘A leap of faith’

Dennis works closely with his team throughout the production process. He gives them detailed descriptions when casting actors and they help him select the appropriate actor. Austin Manu is an actor whom Dennis has managed in the past.

“My first reaction was, is this a joke? How can a visually impaired person direct? he had,” Austin explains.

“It’s hard enough for you to allow a blind pilot to take you where you’re going. But I took a leap of faith and allowed the pilot to fly the plane, and I didn’t. disappointed,” he added.

Dennis makes films known for their drama and suspense. Her peers praised her unique visual style and creative storylines.

“Dennis is someone I can trust”

“Dennis is a phenomenal filmmaker. He has moved past his level of disability and uses it to his advantage. I have often been disappointed in filmmaking. Directors have disappointed me. I saw Dennis as someone I could have confidence. The concept of a director like this is second to none,” says Austin.

“I’m not a motivational speaker, but I do believe you have to accept who you are to make life work for you. When you see me on the streets and in your house, you’ll swear this guy is fine. Why? Because that I choose to live rather than exist,” says Dennis.

In the future, Dennis plans to start his own production company. He hopes living a positive life will inspire other blind people along the way.