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Deaf Short Film Festival highlights deaf talent and bridges the gap between deaf and hearing communities

Ready to see some deaf talent? This weekend there is a deaf short film festival in Wellington, New Zealand. Not only is it showcasing New Zealand’s deaf talent, but also bridging the gap between deaf and hearing communities.

One of the featured films on Friday September 8 will include the award winning film ‘Tama’. The film was created by the deaf film-maker Jared Flitcroft and hearing film-maker Jack O’Donnell.

“Many films have been in collaborations between deaf and hearing film-makers, and the festival gives both deaf and hearing audiences the opportunity to really experience the incredible deaf talent and deaf culture we have in New Zealand,” Jenny Boyd, festival organizer, told New Zealand’s Stuff.

The film is about a deaf teenager, Tama. He feels isolated from the people around him because of communication barriers. The sound within film includes a deaf perspective (muffled sounds), and a hearing perspective (loud common background noises).

Throughout the film, Tama finds his own way to communicate. The way he discovers is best for him is using haka as a way to communicate with his father. Haka is a traditional New Zealand war dance.

“The haka [is] a symbol of change. In the film you’d see Tama change from this weaker person, someone who can’t communicate and as he learns the haka he becomes a man,” Flitcroft said to Radio New Zealand. “He realises he can do it. He’s representing the way he has changed… the way he can stand up to his father and say “look at me, look at me I am communicating with you”.”

Also, at the film festival will be a performance from Sean Forbes. Forbes is a deaf American hip-hop artist who founded DPAN.TV, an online platform that hosts sign language media content. He started out by signing songs in ASL to make music accessible for deaf people.

Read more: Meet Sean Forbes, the deaf rapper who is inspiring a generation

Get more information about the deaf short film festival here!

Author Details
Kirsten is the managing editor of Hearing Like Me. She has a moderate hearing loss and currently wears Phonak Audéo B-R rechargeable hearing aids. Outside of working for Hearing Like Me, she can be found exploring new cities, trying out new recipes in her kitchen, or hiking. She loves learning about different cultures and languages.