American Sign Language:
Deaf Movies and Deaf Films
By Amanda Roraback
ASL and Movies
Movies are my life! Most of my time is spent watching my movies both alone
and with my friends. I even own over 160 movies my self, and I never get
tired of watching them. That is why I decide that for my research blog I
would talk about ASL (American Sign Language) and movies. I got this idea
when I was talking with my friends Deaf sister. I asked her what she wanted
to do when she got old and she told me she wanted to work in the Deaf film
industry. I thought that was really cool and I thought about how fun it
would be to watch a movie all in ASL. At the time I even thought there were
a lot of movies that were in all ASL. However, during my research I found
out that the Deaf film industry is very small and almost nonexistent. It
seems that the one million Deaf, and ten million heard of hearing people in
the United States do not make up a large enough number of the population for
there to be a real need for ASL movies. (Mitchell, 2005)
I personally find that very unfortunate! I think that movies all in sign
would be really cool! No only for the Deaf and hard of hearing community but
for people like myself who are trying to learn sign. I would give you the
opportunity to really see how Deaf sign. You might not understand a lot of
it but I would still be a very good learning experience.
And although the Deaf movie industry is not very big, there are still a few
companies that are dedicated to making Deaf films and trying to make it
grow. Eyethfilms is on of those companies. They were founded in 2000 in
Boston. It's there goals are to “produce a top-notch company and to be
associated with high-quality creativity and entertainment” (www.eyethfilms.com).
I'm not really sure what movies they have produced they are still growing
and trying to get on their feet. ASL Films is another company all about
making films for the Deaf community (www.aslfilms.com). The company is
fairly new, independent, and owned by two Deaf people. So far they have made
a total of three movies but they are still working on new things. One of the
cool things about them is that they travel from state to state and show
their movies, almost like a concert. And if they are not coming to a city
near you, you can sign up and if they can they will come to your city. You
can even buy some of their movies on their website.
There are a few other ASL movies that were not done by these two companies.
You can find a list on www.johnlubotsky.com/Deafcinema. Not only does it
have a list of all Deaf films but it also has a list of Deaf film festivals
and it has a list of speaking films that have some sign in them, such as A
Lot Like Love, The Family Stone, and There Will Be Blood.
I really hope that people will read it and look in to Deaf films. I think
the more support there is for Deaf films the more the industry will grow.
And I also hope that other students who are taking ASL classes will watch
the movies and learn something! I give praise to all those who made Deaf
films and I think that one day I myself might do something in Deaf films!
Mitchell, Ross.(2006). How Many Deaf People Are There in the United States?
The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Retrieved 4, April. 2009:
Wood, Mark and Moore, Mindy. ASL Films. Sweetwater Media, Retrieved 4,
Unknown. (2006). Eyethfilms: The Company. Eyeth and Eyethfilms, Retrieved 2,
April. 2009: <www.eyethfilms.com>
Lubotsky, John. DeafMovies.org (aka the Deaf Cinema List): a collection of
films in ASL & other Sign Languages. Retrieved 2, April. 2009: <www.johnlubotsky.com/deafcinema>
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