The past few months I’ve been spending a lot of time watching things on YouTube. Normally, I’m not that interested in YouTube, but I’ve become aware of the possibilities short films and series hold for the deaf world as well as the hearing world. Last year, it was all about Lee’s BSL Songs (which by the way has made a big comeback!) – this year somehow I’ve just been seeing lots of short films written, directed and produced by deaf people. For example, in the US, Alex Laferriere’s brilliant Dine and Sign is a series of conversations between himself and his Deaf father – sometimes controversial and food for thought, sometimes extremely funny. Although they communicate via ASL, not BSL, it is brilliant to see something like this, and to pick up ASL signs, and of course the series is subtitled. It shows the differences and similarities between two different generations, as well as educating people in American Deaf Culture from their perspectives. In the most recent episode, Alex and his Dad discuss Sharing Selfishness to find Happiness – their takes on what selfishness and sharing means.
(Turn on CC to see Captions!).
Then there are films that tackle particular issues in a way that is both sensitive and shows the varied opinions within the deaf community, such as My Song, written by Charlie Swinbourne. I watched this a few months ago, and could relate to the protagonist’s journey to some extent – although my family are more supportive. It shows that there are different ways to deal with subject matter that might otherwise be difficult to understand from a hearing person’s perspective. I also loved the sign-song aspect of this film – music and sign language, two of my favourite things!
I’ve already shown From Us to You by Ted Evans – which deserves to be shared by everyone in hope that deaf teens, young adults and deaf children know that they are not alone, and can achieve whatever they want to achieve. The power of film used like this is to get the message across, to put names and faces together, and show the world that there are other ways of looking at things. I hope that film-makers realise the potential of the medium to change people’s lives and change perceptions. It would be amazing to see a film like From Us to You going viral. I’m looking forward to seeing more films and series feature deaf people and exploring Deaf culture, all over the world! That is the power of social networking – hopefully one day more deaf people will be inspired to share their stories with each other.