Two years ago, I had the pleasure of attending the second Deaf Rochester Film Festival. Although I am a beginner at American Sign Language (ASL) and did not completely comprehend some of the signed dialogue for the films that were not subtitled, the festival was an amazing journey into the Deaf culture. The films ran the gamut from beautiful and moving to sad and disturbing. Because humans think in images, these films left a stronger impact on my memory than most “talkies” (although some of the films had sound), and I can still clearly see many of the images from my favorite films in my mind’s eye two years after the event.
This year’s Deaf Film Festival, titled “Hands Imitate Art, Art Imitates Hands” will open on Thursday, March 26th and run through Sunday, March 29th. The first festival was launched in 2005 and this third festival has grown to a three day event with multiple venues, thanks to the hard work of its organizers, Patti Durr, Paula Grcevic, Karen Christie and many other volunteers.
Highlights of the festival include:
- Junior Deaf Rochester Film Festival, featuring short works by Deaf high school students – 7 p.m. at the Rochester School for the Deaf , located at 1545 St. Paul Street, Rochester .
- Workshop: “Film and Deaf Writers: Crossing the Cultural Divide” by Aaron Kelstone – 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Writers and Books, located at 74o University Avenue, Rochester .
- Reel Deaf Filmakers Gala Reception – 3 p.m.-6 p.m. at ArtisanWorks, located at 565 Blossom Road, Rochester .
- Sneak Preview: Director’s Showcase – Voices from El-Sayed – 7:30 p.m. at The Little Theater, located at 240 East Avenue, Rochester .
- Welcome Reception and discussion with Deaf filmakers from around the world – 9 p.m. at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, located at 137 East Avenue, Rochester .
- Film Culture Shorts I and Anna’s Silent Struggle – Begins at 9 a.m. and ends after the 4:45 Panel Discussion: Reel Possibilities – Deaf and Hearing Filmakers. Doors open at 8:15 a.m. 1 Hour lunch. At the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House, located at 900 East Avenue, Rochester.
- Visual Poetry Slam at 9 a.m. and and 1 p.m. commentary by Anja Hiddinga. At the Curtis Theatre at the George Eastman House, located at 900 East Avenue, Rochester.
- College Night: Reel Shorts starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by a reception. At the Robert F. Panara Theatre at RIT/NTID located at 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester.
Sunday, March 29th
- Film Culture Shorts II and Signs of the Time – Starts at 9 a.m., doors open at 8:15 a.m. At the Robert F. Panara Theatre at RIT/NTID located at 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester.
- Reel Children’s Program – Starts at 10 a.m. At the CSD Student Development Center at RIT/NTID located at 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester.
For the full program and list of films that will be shown, CLICK HERE.
For anyone interested in sign language and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Culture, this is an event that should not be missed!
Tickets range in price from $5 to $15 for individual events (The Children’s program is free if ordered in advance or $3 at the door). To order your tickets, CLICK HERE.
Photo courtesy of Deaf Rochester Film Festival.