Mastercard and H+Co’s film for low vision audiences hits festival circuit

Mastercard and Howatson+Company's 'Touch' to enter festival circuits

Gavin Chimes: “We pulled out every stop to create an immersive film unlike any you’ve seen before.”

Following its premiere at the Westpac OpenAir cinemas in February, Mastercard’s Australian-first motion picture without pictures, Touch, is now being taught in film schools and entering the international film festival circuit.

Developed in partnership with Westpac and brought to life through Dolby 7.1 sound, ‘Touch’ is geared towards blind and low vision audiences (BLV). Inclusive filmmaking organisation, Bus Stop Films, also consulted and supported the production as Mastercard’s inclusion partner.

Directed by Australian director, Tony Krawitz, and Oscar-nominated sound mixer, Wayne Pashley, the film follows the story of young man, Ben, and his two friends, Naomi and Mo, who get trapped in the consciousness of Ben’s unusual father, Frank, after an experiment gone wrong.

To escape his mind, the trio must embark on an adventure through Frank’s memories, learning more about a man they thought they knew along the way, and more about themselves, too.

The production and creative was led by Mastercard’s agency parter, Howatson+Company, with the creative agency bringing together BLV and non-BLV collaborators from around the world. TBWA Group‘s Eleven PR took charge of the earned media strategy and delivery, while We Are Social managed the social strategy and execution.

Mastercard’s in-house integrated marketing communications team took on the overarching responsibility for project management.

Since its premiere, Touch has started to be taught in film schools including AFTRS, wth plans to progress its roll-out in cinemas and festivals globally in 2024 and beyond.

Julie Nestor, Mastercard’s executive vice president and head of marketing and communications for Asia Pacific, said the film “represents an important step in Mastercard’s multi-sensory journey, embodying its commitment to inclusion.

“Collaborating closely with key stakeholders, alongside blind and low vision crew members and inclusion partners, Mastercard navigated uncharted territory to create a powerful cinematic experience.”

Howatson+Company ECD, Gavin Chimes, said the team pulled out all the stops to create an immersive film unlike any that has come before it, “from an original audio-first screenplay to Dolby Atmos sound design to cinematic scores composed by members of the blind and low vision community.”

“Working with Mastercard and our incredible production partners, we reimagined how a film can be created for everyone, including people who are blind or have low vision,” added Chimes.

Deb Deshayes, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, which consulted on the project, stated that, “it’s crucial to have entertainment that not only considers people who are blind or vision impaired, but also involves them in the whole development process.

“To have a film like TOUCH is an important step towards building a more inclusive future that will allow 500,000+ Australians to enjoy content like everyone else.”

The initiative followed Westpac’s move earlier this year to become the first Australian issuer to roll out accessible cards with the Mastercard Touch Card feature. The design system is made of simple yet distinct tactile notches to help BLV individuals differentiate their credit, debit and prepaid cards. 

See also: Mastercard and Westpac partner for pictureless film powered by sound


Client: Mastercard

Creative and production: Howatson+Company
Earned: Eleven
Social: We Are Social
Paid: McCann
Media: Carat

Production company: Heckler Sound
Executive producer: Bonnie Law
Partner/creative Director: Johnny Green
Head of sound: Dave Robertson

Inclusion partner: Bus Stop Films 

Cast and crew:
Director: Tony Krawtiz
Directors attachment: Benjamin Phillips

Ben: Alexander England
Naomi: Maeve Dermody
Mo: Adam Briggs
Frank: David Field
Young Frank: Kyzen Petelo
Sarah: Hannah Waterman
Murray: John Waters
Casting: Stevie Ray CGA
Casting assistant: Michelle Ny
Casting director Attachment: Lily Mitchell

Sound department:
Sound studio: Heckler Sound
Executive producer: Bonnie Law
Supervising sound editor: Wayne Pashley (Big Bang Sound Design)
Re-recording mixer: Dave Robertson
Sound post co-ordinator:  Libby Villa (Big Bang Sound Design)
Sound editors: Jared Dwyer, Nick Keate, Dave Robertson and Chris Doherty
Foley artists: Jared Dwyer, Eliza Jayne South, Jack Okeby
ADR recordist: Dan Hackett
Dialogue editors: Derryn Pasquill and Dan Hackett
Assistant dialogue editor – Max Pashley

Music by Stare Crazy
Composed and performed by:
Amy Andersen
Reggie Beer
Judith Brandenburg
Jonathan Dreyfus
Meggy Freidhof
Stefan Janik
Daniel Müller

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