Thursday, May 12, 2011

3rd Bi-Annual Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival, May 12-15

Tonight, the Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival launches its third bi-annual edition. It opens with a gala screening of Adventures of  Power with director and actor Ari Gold in attendance. Unfortunately, actress Shoshannah Stern had also been scheduled to attend but will not be able to make it. They hope to have her join the opening via technological means.

Other screenings include I'm Deaf and I Didn't Know by Igor Ochronwicz, Alexander Genievsky's The Gift, and See What I'm Saying by Hilari Scarl. All of the films are presented with English subtitles as necessary for the sign language. Various additional events are scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

All of the screenings take place at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave., one block south of St. George and Bloor St. W. The Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival continues to May 15.


Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival Film Schedule

Thursday, May 12th

Opening Night Film Red Carpet Gala of “Adventures of  Power”
Special Guests in attendance: Shoshannah Stern, Actress and Ari Gold, Director/Actor
Festival Master of Ceremony: Modela Kurzet
Doors open: 5:30 PM
Red Carpet: 6:00 PM
Wine and Cheese Reception: 6:00 PM
Screening: 7:30 PM
Post Screening Q and A’s: 9:30 PM

Innis Town Hall
2 Sussex Ave
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1J5

Friday, May 13th, MayFest:

Time: 9 to 4 PM
Queen Elizabeth Building, at the Exhibition place
180 Prince’s Blvd
Toronto, Ontario,
M6K 3C
Admission: Adults/Youths: $5.00
Children: $3.00
Under 5: Free

Saturday, May 14th, 2011 -- *RT: Running Time

9:00 AM
Director: Storm Smith
Screenwriter: Danielle Goyette
RT: 53:00 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/ English Subtitles

RJ is a newcomer on the basketball team and she has already has a rival, Maddy, on the same team. Both players share the same dream and goal, but only one gets the ball at the end. Which player has what it takes to get their dream come true?

9:53 AM
Director: Michael T.Cyr
RT:  30:00 | CANADA | Language: Sign Language w/ English subtitles

Dr. Dave Mason is a well-respected retired professor in Canada. Upon graduating from Gallaudet, he began his lifelong work with the deaf community in Canada. Alarmed by the struggle of his deaf students whilst teaching in Edmonton, Alberta. Dr. Mason began his research on bilingualism and the relationship structure of the deaf community as a minority group. In Here and There, Dr. Mason talks about the relationship between the deaf community and educators, professions, politicians and the media. He also gives us an insight of how, ranging from deaf infants to deaf adults, the system has been complicating the quality of life of deaf people when it comes to promoting American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) in Canada. Though those models are experienced by Canadians, they are indeed applicable to the deaf community in other countries. This documentary gives us an opportunity to indulge in his dialogue, lectures and pondering and through this; he surfaces the possible sources of our communal struggle...universally.

10:25 AM
Director: Chantal Deguire
Cast: Tiphane Girault
RT: 3:14 | CANADA | Language: Langue Des Signes Quebecise (LSQ) w/English Subtitles

Accompanied by the sound of a drum, these rhythmic signs are the unique expression of Deaf artist Tiphaine Girault's poetic creation. Drums frequently accompany signed poems in the Deaf community. For the Deaf community, the drum is the best instrument for this purpose, since it creates strong vibrations and can be easily felt instead of heard. Here, the drum is used to create some kind of enhancement to the visuals. Girault used the LSQ sign "can't" repeatedly in order to convey her message. She breaks, bites, smashes, and burns the sign and transform into “can”.

10:30 AM
Writer/Actress:  Kalen Feeney  
Producer: Catherine MacKinnon
Cast: Jeremy Ratchford, Dominic Bogart
RT: 7:48 | USA | Language:  English Subtitles

A jaded detective ruthlessly interrogates a thief in an open & shut case, only to realize things are not what they seem.

10:48 AM
Director: Troy Kotsur
RT: 3:14 | USA | Language:  [Silent] w/ English Subtitles

"A gas stove can't live without the matches."

10:51 AM
“AMERICAN De’VIA ARTIST: Chuck Baird and his Journey”
Director /Producer: Tracey Salaway
RT: 47:00 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/ English subtitles

Share and experience an artist’s journey during an era filled with social and cultural changes within the Deaf World, as early as the 1950s. Chuck Baird, one of a few founding members of the established De’VIA art movement, captures these changes and illuminates them through visual documentation and expression. Chuck visually creates a melting pot of worlds as he struggles with his own Deaf identity. Through his talent and commissioned work, he bridges his audience with the world through history, diversity, and universal being. (Film is subtitled for non-signers)

11:40 AM
Director: Amanda Richer
RT:  8:00 | CANADA | Language: English Subtitles

Marianne Matters is a short documentary that tells the story of two sisters, Jennifer and Marianna Petrone who have supported each other all of their lives, but in completely different ways.

11:50 AM
Director: Jules Dameron
Producer: Jennifer Lossi
Cast: Kalen Feeney, Amber Zion
RT: 12:00 Minutes| USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/ English subtitles

In the last weeks of her final semester, an activist student tries to pass English class to graduate, despite her professor, who focuses on winning a Faculty of the Year award. A short film in American Sign Language.

12:05 PM
Director: Sami Vouriheimo
RT: 5:00 | FINLAND | Language:  International Sign Language w/ English Subtitles

A music video by Signmark (Marko Vuoriheimo), an internationally known deaf rapper from Finland, dedicated this song, "The Letter", to Emma Agnew and her immediate family. Emma, a young deaf girl from New Zealand, was a huge fan of Signmark and met him after his show in Spain in July of 2007. Four months later, Emma was taken away from a tight community in a cruel way. The tragic news reverberated around the world and reached Signmark, who was devastated. Signmark was inspired and asked his deaf brother, Sami, to create a music video in memory of Emma Agnew.

12:10 PM -----Break for Lunch-----

12:40 PM
Director: Igor Ochronwicz
RT:  70:00 | FRANCE | Language: International Sign Language /LSF w/ English Subtitles

Being deaf is not just about not hearing…Do we really know anything about deaf people? Who they are? Sandrine was born deaf. In this film, Sandrine has chosen to tell her own story and share with us her vision of the world. Through her memories, from birth until adulthood, we discover a world where nothing has been easy for Sandrine: the way people have looked at her, her schooling, how she had to learn, and then re-learn, and her socialization. Throughout Sandrine’s life, everyone tried to fit this little girl into a mold, to “repair” her into normalcy: To make her hear and speak. But what if there was something more, than just hearing and speaking? This film invites us to enter into a world where sign language is very much alive. Sign language: a bearer of identity, history and culture. “There are not two separate worlds” Sandrine tell us in the film, “Deaf and hearing people can live together and accept their differences.

1:35 PM
“Short on Time”  
Director/Producer:  Jevon Whetter
Cast: France Bay, Karl Herlinger
RT: 19:00 | USA | Language: English Subtitles

When Edith (92) takes a final journey from the hospital to a hospice, she finds an unlikely friend in Howard (34) the disenchanted orderly charged with delivering Edith to her destination.

1:55 PM
Director: Louis Neethling

Cast: Caroline Parker, Patsy Palmer, Sarah Beauvoison
RT: 27:00 | UNITED KINGDOM | Language:  British Sign Language w/English Subtitles

A bittersweet modern day fairytale where three deaf women, Veronica, Karen and Sally, face three very different Christmases until an unexpected event throws them together. Veronica is just out of prison, Sally’s boys have left home and Karen has to work through Christmas; what could they possibly have in common?

2:25 PM
Director: Alexander Genievsky
Cast: Steven Quinn, Tami Lee Santimyer
RT: 53:00 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/ English Subtitles

The Gift is a story of kindness, tragicomedy, communication barriers and love. It centers around a couple, Iron (a hearing musician) and Tara (a deaf dancer).Iron rescues Tara from a train accident and falls in love with her. But it is a star-crossed love because Tara expects Iron to understand her by learning to sign and this is something he finds difficult. The film also sheds light on American Sign Language and some technology (cochlear Implant) that the Deaf community relies upon. The plot ends with a tragicomic twist turning upside down the relationship between Tara and Iron.

3:20 PM
“Deaf in Pink: 3 Days Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego” Director/Producer:  Laura Harvey
RT: 23:38 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/ English Subtitles

Seven Deaf Women from San Diego, California, started a team called "Deaf in Pink" to support The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. They walked 60 miles through beautiful San Diego, camping at night in pink tents by the bay, and spending their days on the wild, festive, pink path created by hundreds of supporters who cheer participants along the way. The San Diego event is traditionally one of the biggest in the country and raises the most money. Funds are used for research to fight against this terrible disease, breast cancer, which has touched the lives of so many. The team almost all first-time walkers, who took up the 60 mile challenge for their mothers, best friends and themselves. One of the walkers says it best "The walk is all about bonds—and a lot of humor!" Follow the Deaf in Pink group as they stride, laugh, cry and triumph together.

3:43 PM
Director/Producer: David Ellington & James Banks
Cast: Jacob Casseden, Darren Cheek
RT: 27:00 | United Kingdom | Language: British Sign Language w/English Subtitles

50/50, a light comedy, which tells the story of Jez (Hearing) and Andy (Deaf). Broke and living in a van Jez dreams up the prefect get-rich scam, but is it a scam too far for Andy?

4:10 PM
“Wedding Night”
Director/Producer: Sabina England
RT: 22:00 | USA | Language:  English Subtitles

A bride arrived to the United States from Pakistan to meet her new husband on their wedding night for the first time. It was an arranged marriage; they’d never met before. The man expected his wife to be a “good Muslim girl”, only to find out she had a reputation back in Lahore. She asserted it was sexist because she was in control of her sexuality. He became disgusted with her and she felt unfairly judged by him. Being all alone in a foreign country, she vowed not to let him control her life.

4:33 PM
Writer/Director:  Anup Bhandari

Cast: Russell Harvard, Miriam Liora Ganz
RT: 14:24 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/English Subtitles

Words, directed by Anup S Bhandari, is a story about Juliet (Miriam Liora Ganz) and Owen (Russell Harvard), a deaf man, who meet at the iconic Bethesda Fountain in the snow covered Central Park. Their conversation begins awkwardly but over the next few days, she comes up with interesting ways to communicate with him. The friendship slowly appears to blossom into romance but the difference between silence and words may be more than it seems.  The film uses American Sign Language and makes references to the works of popular deaf icons - Beethoven’s musical masterpiece “Moonlight Sonata” and Chuck Baird’s painting “Music for the eyes”. The characters names are a reference to Beethoven and his real life love Giulietta Guicciardi, to whom Beethoven dedicated the Moonlight Sonata.

4:50 PM
“PINKY’s DREAM of VRS/VP: The Reality”
Director/Producer: Pinky Aiello
RT: 18:30 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/English Subtitles

Many years ago, a young Deaf woman named Pinky had a dream of being able to use sign language over the phone with video. Now that the dream has become reality, Pinky explores the world of Video Relay Interpreting and videophones from both the Deaf and interpreter perspectives with her own special brand of humour.

5:10 PM ----- BREAK-----

5:15 PM -----DOORS OPEN-----


5:45 PM
Hilari Scarl
RT:  93:00 | USA | Language:  American Sign Language w/English Subtitles

This inspirational and heartfelt documentary follows four well-known entertainers in the deaf community: a comic, a drummer, an actor and a singer as they attempt to cross over to mainstream audiences. Bob, a drummer in the world’s only deaf rock band, Beethoven’s Nightmare, produces the largest show in the band’s 30 year history; CJ, a hugely famous and internationally renowned comic in the Deaf world, but virtually unknown to hearing audiences, fights to cross over to the mainstream by producing the first international sign language theatre festival in Los Angeles; Robert, a brilliant actor who teaches at Juilliard, struggles to survive when he becomes homeless while living with HIV; and TL, a hard of hearing singer finds herself caught between the hearing and deaf communities when she attracts her first major producer to record her first CD “Not Deaf Enough.” The New York Times gave it a Critics’ Pick and the film has received dozens of other rave reviews. The film has won many awards at mainstream film festivals (Philadelphia, Newport Beach) and at deaf festivals (WORLDEAF Cinema Festival, Perspektiva Film Festival in Moscow and D.C. Deaf Film Festival) and has screened in over 100 cities around the world. SEE WHAT I’M SAYING is the first open captioned commercial film in American history.


Awards Ceremony and Spotlight

Q and A’s
Networking - Wine and Cheese Reception
Master of Ceremony: Luke Adams
Deaf Culture Centre
55 Mill Street, Building #5
Suite 101
Toronto, Ontario,
M5A 3C4
Time: 8 to 12 AM
Doors Open: 8:00
Ceremony Starts: 9: 00 PM

**Schedule Subject to Change**

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