Posted: April 6, 2015 | Written by Brooke Cary
The Riverside International Film Festival hosted it’s first primarily deaf audience for a film showing on April 3, with closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreters for the deaf and hearing impaired.
Tickets sold out at Fox Theater in Riverside for the showing of “Found on South Street”at 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening. Intrigue surrounding the film drew attention from Gallaudet University (the first institution for higher learning specifically for deaf and hearing impaired students in the U.S). “Found on South Street” is a full-length feature film, written and directed by 19-year old Jonathan Blair, a stage actor and Child Of a Deaf Adult, or CODA.
Blair was inspired to write the script for what was originally a 20-minute short film project, but as the team set to work, the project turned into a two hour film, which turned out to be a two and a half year venture for directors and the cast. “The origin of the film was based in counseling material that had been converted into videos for the Center for Deaf Studies,” Blair said.
The film focuses on the gap between the hearing and the deaf world. It also brings to light misconceptions that the hearing world has about the deaf, and vice-versa. The movie is oriented toward both hearing and deaf audiences, with parts of the film are completely silent and characters use only ASL. During these scenes, captions are provided for the hearing or those who are unfamiliar with sign language.
“We didn’t want it to just be captioned, we wanted it to sound like a normal scene for the hearing world…theoretically, this film should be completely understood by the deaf community without captions,” Blair explained.
“We took great pains to make sure that all the signs were on-screen, not off or blurred or obstructed at all,” added Taylor Buckley, cinematographer for the film.
So far, “Found on South Street” has received generally positive acclaim from the deaf community, according to Jackson Brown, a deaf co-star in the film. Brown is also a 22 year old American Sign Language professor at Cal Baptist University.
“We were struck with what an important story you are telling about how technology may impact the deaf culture, as well as how well you illustrated identity issues along the spectrum of auditory system damage,” one commentator posted on the film’s Facebook page. “We were moved, too, by the film’s strong message that hit closest to home for all of us—hearing and deaf–the identity that matters to us most as children of God…this film needs to be seen!”
The film will be playing Monday, April 6, at 5:30 p.m., at Fox Theater in Riverside of Mission Inn Blvd. and Market St. Tickets can be purchased online at www.riversidefilm.org