On November 7th, 2009, Lyra (producer) and I (Saj Adibs) attended the Chicago Deaf Expo hosted at Harper college. It was a great opportunity to find out a little more about the deaf culture as well as showing some of the resources that are available to the deaf community. I asked Lyra to write about her experience as we filmed that day at the expo for the documentary. I love how she put it:
The more vested I become in this project, the more it becomes about how I re evaluate my role in the deaf/Deaf community. I truly have an affinity for the Deaf culture. I have a respect that I cannot even put into words. I know they have struggled and they have overcome, and there is something so admirable in that. Deaf or hearing, people can relate to the idea that we are all unique individuals with unique challenges we face.
I think that was the reason I was so nervous today and even somewhat afraid to start interviews with people. This culture has been hurt by the media in the past, and i definitely did not want to do that because as a whole, the deaf culture is trusting of anyone that they encounter that can speak their language.
Think of how easily Joel agreed to the release! And even after that he said, “have fun”. Most places we film at make us jump through hoops to video and we often need an official escort to go around their property. But not today. Not at Deaf EXPO.That is what the deaf culture is all about. They are inviting and wear their hearts on their sleeves and I understand more and more the fear of their culture being extinguished and how they must have perceived the implant in the past.
I think today was a great representation of Deaf lives today. There is a sense of acceptance of the technology that is invading this world. From cochlear implants, to video relay and text cell phones. From the interviews we obtained today, I think deaf individuals realize that these advancements are creating avenues for them to be even MORE independent in the hearing world. And isn’t that what we all want. To live our lives freely, without being too dependent on anybody or anything?
Anyway, enlightening day all around! One of those days that makes me realize that we did not choose the film project, rather the project chose us. And when you invest time towards something that not only changes the lives and viewpoints of people who watch it, but during the process, changes YOU as an individual..it is a gift…truly a gift.