The British Deaf make lovely short films. Truly just brilliant.
Once Dr. Paddy Ladd theorized that they are ahead of our US Deaf filmmaking because the British have grown up with seeing BSL on the telly. They have had their own Deaf channel via the BBC for many a moons now and thus the wee things were raised with the opportunity to see their language, their culture, and their people on the screen via a Deaf lens. I too think this has made a world of difference because in the US what we mostly have is cheap attempts at imitating Hollywood type filmmaking – with little attention paid to the storyline or the Deaf experience. That is what we get when the NAD drops the ball on filmmaking and spends all its recent time advocating for English captions and does no work to promote Deaf filmmaking despite George Veditz having explicitly explained the power and purpose of FILMS in his 1913 Preservation of Sign Language film (which was selected by the Library of Congress National Film Registry for restoration and distinction in 2010).
Hopefully some day soon the NAD will remember its roots and start advocating for Deaf programming like the BBC affords.
In the meantime all hail the British Deaf filmmakers – thank you! They not only have Deaf TV programming, they also put up great films and programs on the internet at the BSL Zone and they just had their Deaf Fest – celebrating and honoring Deaf films. See a review of Who Cares by Charlie Swinbourne – a British Deaf scriptwriter who worked with Louis Neethling (see Coming Out and Departure Lounge) http://limpingchicken.com/2013/05/28/watch-deaffests-best-documentary-winner-who-cares/
Who Cares is 26 minute doc. that follows three Deaf elderly people and their quest to maintain connections, a sense of belonging and a place to be… Deaf. It made me cry and thankful that hopefully Rochester, NY will have a place for Deaf folks to live where they can be… Deaf. The film was directed and written by Camilla Arnold and filmed and produced by Louis Neethling. Neethling is originally from South Africa where he participated in public supported Broadcasting and has filmed and directed several films and programs for the BBC. Neethling presented several of his films at the Deaf Rochester Film Festival (DRFF ’11) and has done much to support and inspire other young and up and coming filmmakers across the globe.
You can view the film for yourself at the BSL Zone
You can also see another great British Deaf short narrative film, which is made to look like a documentary following a set of children through out their lives, called THE END. Written and directed by Ted Evans, this is a powerful film with great acting, wonderful cinematography / editing and a BRILLIANT and DISTURBING storyline. The film was off-line at the BSL Zone for a while due to being screened at the Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival and i was in mourning for want to show it to my class before the quarter ended. So please do watch both of these gems folks. You will not regret it and in the wild world of the web, they may be here today and gone tmw.
Don’t Miss This – “Who Cares” & that – “The End”
Thank you to all the Deaf filmmakers and allies that dare to tell our truths authentically.
Who Cares? We DO!