Robson Orr on Tibet trek for 'Blindsight'


BERLIN -- London-based producer Sybil Robson Orr has a trio of fresh projects in the starting blocks including a feature film about the life of the sightless star of her Panorama documentary "Blindsight."

Directed by Lucy Walker, "Blindsight" revolves around blind educator Sabriye Tenberken who takes a group of sightless Tibetan teenagers to the top of a 23,000-foot Himalayan peak with the help of Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to conquer Mount Everest.

Robson Orr has acquired film rights to Tenberken's biography "My Path Leads to Tibet," in which she recounts how she lost her sight at age 12 and defied all obstacles to major in Tibetology before heading alone to China and on to Tibet.

Robson Orr is producing, and is looking for writers for the project, on which she plans to engage a top-flight director. "It's not a little picture," she said. "I hope to shoot in Tibet, which I think would make it the first major feature film shot there."

Robson Orr and her sales partner Robbie Little have sold "Blindsight" to Svensk for Scandinavia and to Phantom Pictures in Japan, with negotiations under way at the EFM on most other major territories.

Robson Orr is just back from Port Williams in Chile, the world's southernmost town, where she is preparing a documentary feature about a woman in her 70s who is the last surviving pure-blood member of the Yaghan tribe of Tierra del Fuego, provisionally titled "Land of Fire."

The filmmakers plan to use the woman's tales to explore the 5,000-year-old tribe's customs and ceremonies. "It's really an exploration of the history of the Yaghan tribe, and of how she sees the future of her people, which is really quite dismal. We want to hear her stories, which are going to die with her if they're not documented," Robson Orr said.

The producer also is prepping another docu, "Fountain of Youth," which looks at the world's oldest people, including current record holder Yone Minagawa, 114, of Japan.

The film will begin shooting in June in Japan, which has a strong concentration of supercentenarians, as people who exceed 110 years of age are known. "I want to know why these people are living so long. It's maybe something to do with the minerals in the sea air or the diet. But it's also maybe linked to a sense of purpose.

The three titles will be produced by Robson Entertainment.