Abandoned Heroes

What makes director David Block such an amazing director? It is the fact that his independent film “Abandoned Heroes,” shown at Eastern on Oct. 25, won the “Best Independent Film Short Documentary” Award at the 2009 Independent Film Festival.

The film focuses on the struggles that combat veterans face while at war and once they return home. 

 Block said that it took him and his crew nine years and 10 months to finish the film. Block was forced to file for bankruptcy at least once during shooting.

What really makes Block such an amazing director is the fact that he was able to accomplish all of this despite the fact that he is legally blind.

Before Block was a film director, he was a freelance journalist. His articles were published in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the London Times. Block said that he decided to do his first movie in 1990 while writing for the New York Times. He was writing a story on Goalball, a sport for visually impaired.

After writing this story, Block was still interested in the topic of blind sports. He didn’t want to write another story about it because he found movies to be more memorable, so he became a director. His first movie, “Goalball: A Sport for Good Listeners” was made in 1992.

In 1996, Block directed “Portraits of Possibility” before starting to work on “Abandoned Heroes.”

When asked what inspired him to make a military film, Block said that he came across the film idea by accident. His original plan was to make a documentary on Israelites who were injured in war and used sports as a vehicle for recovery.

Through this, Block discovered the problems that American veterans were facing after returning from war and decided that it was an issue that needed to be made known.

People ask Block why he is making a film on war veterans when he was never a soldier himself. To that, he always responds, “Well, Spielberg was never an alien.”

The biggest difficulty that he faces is people not taking him seriously as a director. When people first hear that he is legally blind, they sometimes immediately ask, “What is a blind man doing in a visual arts field?” Block says that he “constantly has to prove himself as a respected director.”

Block has never let his dream be hindered by obstacles, and he encourages students to do the same. “Don’t give up on your dream,” he said. “If you want to do something that you love, go for it no matter what.”

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