Tunnel Vision

2015 / 15:45 runtime / HD Video and Super 16mm Film
M.F.A. Thesis Film, Temple University
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Suffering from a rare eye disorder, a man convinces his estranged ex-wife to drive him back to the places from their shared past so he can see them - and her - one last time.


Wisconsin Film Festival, 2016
Wildwood Film Festival, 2016
Door County Short Film Festival, 2016
Cincinnati Film Festival, 2015
Yonkers Film Festival, 2015
Alexandria Film Festival, 2015
Chesapeake Film Festival, 2015
Middle Coast Film Festival, 2015
UFVA National Conference, Washington D.C., 2015
International House, Philadelphia PA


Tunnel Vision is about Sarah and Brandon, ex-lovers who reunite after Brandon discovers that he suffers from a rare eye disorder that is slowly causing him to go blind. Faced with the dilemma of how to spend his last days with his fading vision, he convinces Sarah to drive him back to the places from their shared past so he can see them – and her – once more. Tunnel Vision explores the struggle between vision and blindness – both literal and metaphorical – that all people must face when confronting their past.

I was driven to make this film as a cinematic portrait of blindness, of vision loss and of altered perspectives on the past and memory as it overlaps with the present. As a filmmaker, blindness represents the loss of more than the primary sense through which we understand our world. It is almost a sort of death of one's self; or rather a rebirth. I draw connections between this fate and the lingering trauma of a failed relationship as experienced by two people looking back in time and re-living their shared history together. Hindsight is supposedly seen in 20/20 vision, but, like the cinematic apparatus to which I draw comparisons, it is not as objective we might like it to be or think that it is.

Furthermore, this film is my personal, road-trip portrait of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. I like to think that it captures a unique moment in time for a city in flux, as it sheds it's industrial past. Over the course of six shooting days, my cast and crew and I shot guerilla-style across a wide cross-section of the city, exploring a diverse palette of urban ruins, empty lots, highway overpasses, and riverside industrial zones – the transitory “non-places” we pass through without a thought.

This project was a labor of love and my thesis film while studying for my Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia. The film is intended to be both an audio-visual meditation on impending blindness and a road-trip portrait of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The film utilizes aesthetic strategies of immersive-ness, verisimilitude, and self-reflexivity to engage the viewer on a more sensory level and encourage heightened viewer activity within a fixed, linear medium. The cinematic apparatus, so often considered an objective method of documenting reality that parallels the supposedly 20/20 nature of hindsight vision, is instead presented as a metaphor for the ephemeral, biased nature of vision, a sense so often taken for granted. Multi-layered soundscapes combine with a visual aesthetic that expresses vision versus deprivation to evoke a disrupted sensory experience in the viewer akin to the fragmented perspectives and disabilities within the characters.

Joe Kraemer
Writer / Director - Tunnel Vision

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