TOUCH: Australia’s first motion picture without pictures

TOUCH hopes to redefine what the cinematic experience could be without pictures orienting the storyline.

Australia’s first ever pictureless feature-length film using only the power of sound has been announced by Mastercard, in partnership with Westpac.

Directed by award-winning director Tony Krawitz (Into the Night, Jewboy, The Tall Man) TOUCH follows a young man, Ben, who gets trapped in the consciousness of his father, Frank, after an experiment goes wrong. To escape, Ben must go on an epic adventure through his dad’s memory, learning more about a man he thought he knew.

Featuring globally recognised talent, including sound editor Wayne Pashley (Elvis, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Lego Movie) and composer Jonathan Dreyfus (A Night of Horror, Fat Legs), TOUCH was created by a diverse cast and crew with a shared ambition to redefine what the cinematic experience could be without pictures orienting the storyline.

Read: sound designer Wayne Pashley on working with Baz Luhrmann

Krawitz said: ‘What would it be like to be in a cinema with hundreds of people and only focusing on sound? A movie without pictures? TOUCH is a one-of-a-kind story that explores a man’s mind, his memories, his tics – all without images.

‘The film has been designed for people to enjoy, and to enable people to experience what it’s like not to have your vision to orient you. To make the audience use their ears as if they’re detectives, gripped by what’s going to happen next.’

Throughout production, leading inclusive filmmaking organisation Bus Stop Films supported with a series of focus groups, including people who are blind and low vision, to inform and direct the outcome of the film. During the film’s production Bus Stop also supported blind and low vision crew members in roles such as project consultants and director’s attachments, ensuring all roles were steered by the crew member’s passion and skills.

Read: Bus Stop Films – 18 ‘inclusively made’ shorts to tour Australia

Ben Phillips, Krawitz’s attachment, actor from Offspring and aspiring film director said: ‘For those like myself who are blind, our appreciation of film often relies heavily upon the audio experience, so when a film’s sound evokes emotion, it can paint a colourful picture in our imagination. Working on TOUCH has allowed me to collaborate creatively on such an inclusive film, unlock opportunities in production, and showcase to Australia how content can be experienced, without the limitations of ability or disability.’

With TOUCH set to premiere at a special event at Westpac OpenAir on 13 February, Mastercard and Westpac OpenAir have partnered to create an inclusive event experience, including a collaboration with Humanitix to deliver an accessible box office experience.

Tickets for the premiere of TOUCH are available now.

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites