The Listening Pitch 2021:
Winners Announced

Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Audible are delighted to announce the winners of the The Listening Pitch 2021. We invited filmmakers to submit proposals for a short documentary about Listening; we were looking for original stories that show how listening lets us understand different points of view and discover new ideas. The selected filmmakers will receive a grant of £10,000, with the film premiering at Aesthetica Film Festival 2021.

The 2021 recipients are Jessi Gutch and Liz Jackson, with Blind as Beat. The film is an artistic celebration of the power of listening as a way of interpreting the world, set against the backdrop of a film director’s failing eyesight. Jackson was an in-house documentary director at the BBC for 10 years, making a range of films for the broadcaster. Told through four phases of loss, the film portrays her journey: from ex-documentary filmmaker who used sight as a primary sense, to someone who is visually impaired and using hearing predominately.

“There is a growing movement for film to become more accessible. People are starting to see that the disabled audience is a big one – they should be thought of in the production process. In this script, we’ve tried to take the idea of audio description but elevate it to something very visually evocative. We like the idea of giving people pictures in their head just from the words.”

Gutch is a BIFA nominated writer, director, producer whose credits include The Forgotten C, Until The Tide Creeps In and Octopus. Living with ovarian cancer, she is committed to authentic storytelling about the disease. She also specialises in creative documentary and working with NGOs. Whilst working for the BBC for a decade, Jackson collaborated with misrepresented communities to tell their stories.

Blind as a Beat will premiere at Aesthetica Film Festival, alongside a Live Q&A. This will take place during the festival, which runs 2-7 November.

Follow the winning filmmaker: @Jessi_Gutch