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Southport Reporter

Edition No. 75

Date:- 22 November 2002

Article and Photos by Louise Pitchers.

THIS FESTIVAL is an event that should occur more often in Southport as it brings deaf and hearing people closer in communication and togetherness for social weekends. As is evident, all screenings are accessible to deaf and hearing via British Sign Language and English subtitles. 

Access to subtitles for deaf people for most films is frustrating for deaf people - it excludes them because few films have them and opens a great bridge of silence for deaf viewers. The likelihood of seeing such a film in an SBC cinema in Southport is remote. 

The Deaf film and TV festival has been running for seven years and hosted by Light House in Wolverhampton. All screenings are free of charge and sponsored by the British Deaf Association, Channel 4, the Film Council, Light House, VET, Screen West Midlands and James Beattie Charitable Trust.

This year's festival has produced more films by deaf filmmak
ers than ever before. Another example that there is a breakthrough for deaf people is that there are more deaf actors acting in films and television. Which heralds a new positive attitude towards deaf people who want to get into that media and film industry. 

There are various different types of films and television programmes going on in the festival. For example, a debut film 'Skye' by DrEAdFul film Productions, who were winners of this year's Deaf Film &TV Festival Video Award. Casting stars such as Elizabeth Jenkins and Matthew Butler as the protagonists. 

Skye - the films main character, is defined as a seventies deaf girl grieving over the death of her mother. We are drawn to a strange tale of Skye and a man whom she meets at a nightclub. As she becomes curiously involved with as we are drawn deeper into the story. He helps her through the grief by encouraging her to enjoy herself and goad's her to dance to music. But suddenly and rather oddly he vanishes at the end of the night. 

As the film progresses, she sees him alongside her deceased mother and realises the man is a ghost of her dead father. However the film is somewhat jovial and throughout the film it remains comical much to the vain of genre to that of a typical Austin Powers film.

Many foreign films in this year's festival communicated what the deaf culture is like in different countries. It was interesting to see how deaf people are portrayed in films. And the diverse culture is evident as it is different from this country by which that some deaf people do not get it easy by growing up being deaf and the lack of support from they get from various governments.

In this year's festival, two drama programmes from television, notably stood out - BBC 2's 'See Hear!' and the title 'Switch' - similar to Eastenders and replaced by deaf actors. 

A success the festival certainly proved to be but it would also be an added bonus to the people of Southport if it were screened. Southport SBC cinema could make this possible for deaf people and hearing alike to unite by watching such films with subtitles. There is a positive aspect of the language barrier between deaf and hearing people, which can be breached. Thus it should no longer be the case for a cause of social barriers if this bridge could be crossed.

Southport Reporter is Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2002.