Award-Winning Documentary â€œOcean Of Obstaclesâ€ Chronicles the Journey of 12 Blind Teenagers from Phoenix Who Set Sail Across the Spanish Virgin Islands
By Lisa Cardinale -
Monday Mar 22, 2021
In 2018, twelve blind teenagers who grew up in the desert heat, void of an ocean, defied all odds and learned how to sail at a local lake. The dozen, known as the Blind Buccaneers, later journeyed hundreds of miles across the sea without the use of eyesight to guide them. In a moving tale about perseverance, courage and grit, the award-winning documentary â€œOcean of Obstacles,â€ is set to be released on digital and cable VOD by Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios Company, on April 13, 2021.
The film was the brainchild of Phoenix-based director, Louie Duran, who first discovered the Foundation for Blind Children and their challenge events in 2015. He began documenting these stories several years later at Lake Pleasant Harbor. The challenge events are part of an on-going effort by the Foundation to inspire visually-impaired individuals to achieve more in life.
Duran said, "I witnessed the strength and hope these kids possess shine full from challenging themselves. When given the opportunity to show the world this life-changing experience, I jumped at the chance! Every one of these kids had to overcome fear and doubt to reach their goals, and they all became my heroes."
Marc Ashton, CEO of the Foundation and creator of the challenge events said, â€œWhether itâ€™s to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or across the ocean, our kids rise to the challenge.â€
The documentary was recently awarded: â€œWinner of Best True Story,â€ â€œWinner of Special Innovation Award for Creative Storytelling,â€ and â€œMost Inspirational Filmâ€ at the Las Vegas and Orlando Film Festivals.
"This adventure has been a challenge for everyone who got to be a part of it in some way,â€ says executive producer, Loudin Dennis Krueg. â€œWhat you will feel watching these young adults in this call to contest with the open water changes how you approach everything down the road. I know it has for me, and I will never be the same because of what I have seen firsthand at sea."
One of the young blind castmates, Kaylee Nielsen said, â€œI think what I was left with was memories of the incredible experience we had, and just personally a new sense of confidence, a sense of adventure and a sense of, â€˜Hey they're doing it, I can do that too!â€™
Nationally recognized Phoenix Brophy Prep running back Adonis Watt is also featured in the film triumphantly sailing across the Caribbean Sea. In an interview regarding the trip, the sports star who began losing his eyesight at five-years old due to congenital glaucoma humbly said, â€œItâ€™s just another adventure to go on.â€
The documentary â€œOcean of Obstaclesâ€ will be officially released on April 13, 2021. Presale orders may be placed soon on I-tunes