World At Arms Length: Q&A Screening

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World At Arms Length: Q&A Screening

Directed by Susanne Bohlmann.
Classification: E, 128 mins.
Country: Spain.
Language: German (subtitled).

Janet Leitch, Chairman of the Australian Friends of the Camino, will provide a brief outline of what it is like to be a pilgrim on the Camino Frances and will include some time at her session for questions, before the opening night screening of ‘The World At Arms Length’.

Sven has a dream. Once in his life he wants to walk the Camino de Santiago – the Way of St. James. But that seems impossible, Sven has Usher syndrome, a disease which slowly, inexorably robs him of hearing and vision

Profoundly deaf and completely blind since 2010, he can only communicate using a special hearing aid in the spoken language. A hearing aid does not distinguish the sounds – they flow, unfiltered to him – only helpful if Sven’s environment is calm and silent and even then it brings exhaustion and headaches. He mainly speaks via tactile gestures, forming words and letters using his hands. He is totally dependent upon the help of his specially trained assistants. Sven has to entrust himself to his assistants, because although he is their “boss”, he can’t fully perceive his surroundings. They are his eyes and his ears. They guide him, describe his surroundings and translate every communication with the outside world for him.

There are less than 50 trained Deafblind Assistants in Germany. As assistant, Almuth learns of Sven’s dream to wander the Camino de Santiago, she offers to accompany him on the 800 kilometres. Sven can hardly believe it. Immediately he prepares for the journey of his life. He plans his trip together with Almuth over two years. Seven assistants will alternate his care. He has worked with 3 of this all female crew before – he barely knows the rest. In the middle of April, after much preparation, the journey begins.

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