Cosponsored by the American Sign Language Department of Vista Community College.
Deafness is often called the “invisible” disability. This invisibility extends to the cinema, where Deaf culture remains essentially unseen. Aside from a few well-meaning “problem” films, deafness exists offscreen, neither the subject of cinema nor its creative source. Is there a cinema about the Deaf, much less a Deaf cinema? This three-day Deaf Film Festival (DFF), is a first effort to address those rarely posed questions. DFF is centered around three feature films with differing degrees of engagement: a Thai thriller with a deaf hitman, serving as a mainstream portrait of marginality; a Japanese family drama, made by hearing and deaf artists and intended as a corrective to years of misrepresentation; and an American romance, following the tribulations of a young deaf woman, that proudly puts Deaf culture front and center. Complementing these promising efforts is a program of marvelous shorts from Europe and two presentations about deafness and cinema by scholars Jane Norman and John Schuchman. Please join us for the first film festival where the hands have it.
Notes by Steve Seid
Curated by Nancy Cayton, Kathy Geritz, Ella Mae Lenz, Steve Seid, and the Screening Committee
The films in the festival are in a variety of international sign languages which are subtitled in English, with the exception of the opening film, I Love You, But…, for which a synopsis will be provided. The lectures will be conducted in American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreted into spoken English, accessible through wireless headphones. The headphones will be available at the PFA Box Office, as will some assistive listening devices for films with audio portions. We thank the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf for generously providing the use of their specialized equipment.
Advance ticket purchase is available through PFA's TTY, (510) 642-8734, with no service charge. For further ticket information please turn to page 15 of Art Notes. Tickets may also be purchased on the Web via Dcara's Deaf Store at: http://store.yahoo.com/dcaradeafstore/, or at the store located at 1550 San Leandro Blvd., San Leandro; TTY (510) 351-3937, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to thank Nancy Cayton, Staff Assistant, ASL Program, Vista Community College, and Festival Co-Coordinator; Vista Community College Instructors Ella Mae Lentz, Festival Co-Coordinator, and Ivanetta Ikeda; Philip Rubin, President, Deaf Visual and Performing Artists; and Helen Haug, Vista Community College ASL program graduate; with the assistance of Ken Mikos, California State University, Hayward, ASL program; Karen Carruthers, Paul Dudis, and Ramona Galindez, Vista Community College Instructors; George "Butch" Zein, Deaf community member; Yoon Lee, Deaf World TV; and Derek Nunn, Board member, Deaf Visual and Performing Artists. Thanks also to Janice Plotkin, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival; Lucy Franklin, British Deaf Association in London; and dr. Elias Katz, member of BAM/PFA's Community advisory Committee, for their advice and support. Thanks to deafvision for hosting the deaf film festival website.