April 10, 2016 | Deaf Jam | Wilmington, DE
Coincidences? Serendipity? However you might look at chance encounters, my visit to Light UP the Queen began with a wonderful surprise.
After a leisurely train ride from New York City, I walked to the theater and ran right into Mary Hicks – a Bilingual Literacy Specialist from Delaware School for the Deaf who I had been corresponding with on and off over the past year. We had never officially met each other. Yet when we both arrived at the wrong location at exactly the same time, we had instant recognition of each other!
From there, Mary and I, along with a few others, proceeded to the correct location just a couple of blocks away – Film Brothers Movie Co-op.
Tina Betz and Judy Hickman, producers of the events for Light Up the Queen, created an afternoon living room salon where refreshments are shared along with stimulating conversation. Dr. Guillermina Gonzalez, Executive Director of the Delaware Arts Alliance, led the post screening discussion.
It was a diverse audience of deaf and hearing, and representatives of DeLNato (http://www.delnato.org) and Students from the University of Delaware’s “Justice for Palestine” organization. Dr. Gonzalez presented the question “What does it mean to be deaf figuratively speaking?” This perceptive and poetic topic led to discussions about communication socially and politically in relationship to the film. The director of DelNato made a beautiful statement about the closing poem in Deaf Jam: “the strength of the poem is in the components together. Isolated – Tahani’s spoken word component and Aneta’s ASL component would not have had the same impact.” This example of the strength in collaboration is at the heart of the film and one that I hope will be an inspiration to many.
The following morning, Tina Betz and I visited Delaware School for the Deaf viewed student work created by some of Mary Hick’s students and students studying with Graphic Design teacher, Matthew Bezaire. We had a very fun discussion about their work and filmmaking techniques. Check out dsdeaf.org and their DSDTV youtube channel to see what they are up.
Discussions around an ASL and spoken word poetry event for next year began among Tina, Mary, and I. The discussion was a dream come true and a wonderful culmination to the trip.
Post by On Screen/In Person touring filmmaker Judy Lieff.