TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Holy Braille

Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Edward Hallett

United Kingdom


Beirut today.

When Colette was 14 her Dad died and her Mum started drinking. She protected her younger siblings from the family break-down. They grew up and moved on with their lives. Colette, now in her 40s, peculiar and awkward, still lives at home. Feeling trapped, Colette pretends that she has found a job and each day goes to ‘work’. In reality she spends her time with the eccentric and lonely inhabitants in a faded elderly home.

She bonds with Samir, a retired literature professor who has gone blind. She reads to him from his book collection and he shares his wisdom with her. Amongst his books she finds erotic tales that horrify and excite her. In a bold step she reads them to the residents, re-awakening something in them and her. However, the illicit readings stir up complex emotions. And when Colette’s secret is exposed she has to leave the home.

The group manages to keep the spirit of her readings alive and a deeper solidarity is established in the home.

Samir dies with Colette by his side. He departs in peace as she chooses the right book to ease his passing. His spirit and books remain with her so she can face up to a future with renewed hope.


The idea for this film sprang from a real experience. I discovered that my aunt reads vivid erotica to a faithful group of blind elderly people in New York.

After some persuasion, I was allowed to join a session. I could never have been prepared for the impact it would have on me. Erotic expletives and filthy fantasies poured from my aunt’s lips and filled a room packed full of old blind men and women. A drab community centre was transformed into an electric atmosphere, alive with the laughter and gripped attention of everyone present. It was like watching a light being turned on in the dark.

This scene captured issues I’d long been wanting to explore. We are more comfortable assuming that people past a certain age, and particularly those with a disability, are devoid of sexuality. All of my instincts and experience tell me that this is not the case.

The idea of Colette’s character arose after moving to Lebanon in 2011. I was moved by how common it is for an unmarried daughter to live at home as an adult, sacrificing their own lives to fulfill the duty of looking after ageing parents. I was also struck by the existence of a rich canon of oriental erotica, dripping in sensuality and beauty. Using this literature will enhance the poetic impact of the film. What’s more, Beirut’s intense colours, stunning light, varied architecture and chaotic street-life all provide a great backdrop for a film that has blindness at its core.

Strong and experienced actors will play the leading roles of Samir and Colette. However, the residents of the home shall be cast from Lebanon’s real elderly blind. Coming from a documentary background, we have spent months researching in Beirut’s blind schools, elderly centres and at private homes in order to bring an authenticity to the film. The film will combine the real humanity found in a powerful observational documentary with the beautiful cinematic escapism found in a piece of fiction filmmaking.

A shorter, 40-page version of the film was completed in 2012. Through the Interchange program we are undergoing many developments as this expands into a feature-length script. At the moment, we have a detailed treatment.

distribution & sales

Old age is subject to two myths. Firstly, that the old people we meet are always old. Secondly, that old age is essentially boring. Rather than gravitating towards the old lady at the cocktail party, we veer away from her or, worse, take pity and decide to ‘keep her company.’ In filmic terms, this is a lost opportunity. It neglects a wealth of dramatic possibilities that are ripe for exploration. I have chosen to work on Holy Braille because I believe in the director’s peculiar sensibility to the beautiful, tragic and comic aspects of old age. She has a passion for her subject matter that I want to see converted into film and shared with a wider audience. Moreover, the film’s premise of explicit erotica being read to the elderly blind has a stand out quality. It forms the basis for hard hitting and immediately gripping scenes but also sets in motion a subtle, but utterly compelling narrative arc of its own. Araidne Films was set up in late 2011, largely inspired by the filmmaking potential that Lebanon has to offer. Lebanon has a diverse and fascinating range of human stories, stunning locations and natural light; and a pool of creative talent that is exceptionally open to collaboration. The current project reflects a desire to continue working within this inspiring environment. Of critical importance is that the project forms genuine links with local talent. Not just for reasons of execution feasibility, but also to ensure that the underlying mood, message and nuance of the film rings true to a regional audience. On the marketing front, the Holy Braille concept falls into a sweet spot that is unlikely to go away. The combination of an ageing population in Europe and America; and a youth that is increasingly drawn towards other forms of digital entertainment; means that there is an incresing demand for films that will appeal to the 60+ demographic. A spate of successful films that do just this (including Amour, Quartet etc.), has only reinforced this trend amongst sales agents and distributors. The budget for Holy Braille is around US$ 600,000. We will be seeking to form links with co-producers in Lebanon, the Middle East and Europe over the coming months. As yet, neither sales agents or distributors have been approached. However, we aim to initiate contact once we have a full first draft feature-length script in place and once we have attached further project participants (including main cast, composer etc.). Once we believe we have a ‘saleable’ package we will approach financing partners in earnest

The discovery of pleasure by the most unlikely people, in the most unlikely of places.
Rebecca Lloyd-Evans

Film Director, Production

Edward Hallett


production notes

directed by
Rebecca Lloyd-Evans

produced byAriadne Films
P.O Box 167036

Sassine Square - Ashrafieh

in co-production with
FredrikFiction - Norway
Cathrine Pryser

written by
Edward Hallett

total production budget
€ 600.000

current financial need
€ 600.000