Jump to accessibility statement Skip to content

Sunderland filmmaker shines global spotlight on electrohypersensitivity

Home / More / News / Sunderland filmmaker shines global spotlight on electrohypersensitivity

Published on 14 June 2023

Sean A. Carney
Sean A. Carney

A UK film producer and University of Sunderland graduate is putting electrohypersensitivity (EHS) in the global spotlight with his new international award-winning animated short film. 

Sean A. Carney’s Remembering Nearfield tackles the taboo subject of EHS. The condition affects highly sensitive individuals who experience incapacitating symptoms triggered by exposures to various man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) given out by devices, including mobile and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, TVs, and wireless smart devices. 

The true story focuses on a wife and entrepreneur who tragically loses everything when her health mysteriously declines. She shares her journey of her EHS diagnosis, her initial disbelief and her feelings of guilt through being stigmatised and socially excluded – and ultimately being confined to her home, abandoned and isolated.

Sean, who is originally from Sunderland but now lives in Hampshire, said: “People with EHS face reduced employment opportunities and become excluded from public life. Isolation, discrimination, and a lack of support characterise their existence as they contend with the disabling condition. Somehow, they must find the will to survive, but not all can cope, or can survive. High-profile public figures are also feeling the impacts of EHS. Gradually it destroys careers and quality of life. 

“My film – the narrated testimony of Corriëlle van Vuuren who was diagnosed with EHS – aims to inform audiences about the unacceptably impoverished life and social limitations arising from the nature of this largely unrecognised disability. Irrespective of the scientifically controversial “one-size-fits-all” wireless exposure limits in place in our society, EHS sufferers are rendered incapacitated by their severe EMF-induced symptoms.

“The moving testimony in my film is very representative of people with EHS. The character lives just like everyone else, regularly exposed to nearfield electromagnetic fields over many years, from commonplace technologies. She was unprepared for the changes that would happen in due course, as she became increasingly sensitised and incapacitated from repeated, prolonged exposures. She lost everything she knew and loved. Nothing was the same again.”

Sean added: “Her ordeal highlights urgent public health/human rights issues relating to individual informed consent, bodily autonomy, discrimination, and social inequality. As well as the challenges posed by her EHS I wanted to emphasise her individual character and resilience. The film also highlights some constructive solutions to make society more inclusive for people with EHS. It is a film envisaging a positive outcome for the EMF-disabled because lowering environmental EMF levels is possible. For example, scientists advise wired internet connections and no-cell-service environments (white zones), measures known to counter, or even reverse, some of the prevalent health issues afflicting the electromagnetically sensitive."

Now entered into more than 200 international film festivals, Sean's film is sparking considerable interest and has gained recognition at festivals in London, Stockholm, Rome, Istanbul and Lisbon.

It has won awards for ‘Best Film About a Disability Issue’ at the World Film Carnival in Singapore, the Black Swan International Film Festival in Kolkata and the Gangtok International Film Festival – as well as ‘Best Animated Film’ at the Ganges International Film Festival. 

Remembering Nearfield has also won ‘Best Animated Short Film’ at the Veneto International Film Festival in Italy and will be screened there in January and February next year. 

Most recently, the film was named a winner at the Better Earth International Film Festival in Kolkata, as well as winning three awards at the prestigious Accolade International Film Festival in California in recognition of Disability Issues, Contemporary Issues/Awareness Raising and Animation. It was also voted Best Animation, winning in the Brussels Capital Film Festival.

Sean hopes his film will start a global conversation about EHS and put what he describes as an “often-neglected disability” at the forefront of the minds of his audience. 

“I believe society can become educated through independent films that discuss social issues bringing perspective and clarity,” he said.

“I believe social change is possible through films that can give a voice to the voiceless in our society. I want to raise awareness about EHS, as the disability isn’t very well known about or publicised, and for a health issue recognised by scientists for over 100 years, the societal neglect of the problem of EMF-induced harm and disability is resulting in an urgent human rights issue that isn’t getting enough attention.

“Electrohypersensitive people need recognition, acceptance, equal opportunities and disability rights, and I hope my film will catalyse a meaningful global conversation and bring the necessary social changes, or at least start the ball earnestly moving in that direction.”

Sean is an independent filmmaker, animator, and photographer, highlighting social issues relating to health and other human rights. He is an advocate for EMF safety and his filmmaking, writing and radio discussions are there to inform.

Sean graduated from the University of Sunderland’s Art and Design Foundation course in 1992 before moving south to study a BA in Graphic Design and an MA in Illustration.

Sean’s academic success propelled him into a fruitful career working on some of London’s most prolific and prestigious science publications, including The Lancet, and his engagement with the scientific community continues on matters pertinent to health and disability. He also keeps an open dialogue with EMF safety campaigners, charities, and safe technology lawyers and engineers.  

Sean added: “Remembering Nearfield has been positively reviewed by renowned scientists, industry professionals and film critics alike, which is a testament to the film’s integrity, appeal, and urgent message. The film serves as a poignant reminder that we are all taking our chances with our health when we surround ourselves with wireless radiation, and that we cannot ignore the reality of EHS, no matter how inconvenient.”

Watch Remembering Nearfield here

Watch the cinematic trailer here

For more information on Remembering Nearfield visit the official film website