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What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary
~~~ short trailer~~~
Feature film directed and produced by Hilari Scarl
Coming in 2009
title song SEE WHAT I'M SAYING by Powder
is now up on iTunes.
people can do anything but hear. But an all deaf rock band?
An international deaf comic famous around the world but
unknown to hearing people? A modern day Buster Keaton who
teaches at Juilliard but is currently homeless? A hard of
hearing singer who is considered "not deaf enough?"
WHAT I'M SAYING follows the journeys of four extraordinary
deaf entertainers over the course of a single year as their
stories intertwine and culminate in some of the most important
events of their lives:
DeMAYO - actor
The extraordinarily talented and optimistic Robert DeMayo
is a brilliant actor and one of the leading experts
on translating English into American Sign Language.
He is also homeless. While teaching sign language translation
to Broadway interpreters at Juilliard, a miscommunication
with Robert's landlord leads him down a slippery slope
of couch surfing, and ultimately onto the streets, as
he fights to survive.
HILTERMANN - drummer
Beethoven's Nightmare, the world's only deaf rock band,
gears up for the most important gig of their lives:
their first mainstream show. Bob Hiltermann, the band's
drummer/producer decides to go for broke and produce
the largest concert in the band's 30-year history.
JONES - comic
CJ Jones is a deaf comic who is highly celebrated by
the deaf community. He strives to cross over to mainstream
media, plagued by what others view as a double whammy
- being black and deaf. CJ's journey takes a unique
turn when he decides to produce the first International
Sign Language Theatre Festival in Los Angeles and invites
Robert DeMayo to perform.
TL FORSBERG - singer
Hard of hearing singer TL Forsberg straddles two worlds
- that of the deaf and that of the hearing. She struggles
to be accepted by the deaf community since because she
is not a native sign language user, and "passes"
in the hearing world. Her passion leads her to a recording
deal to produce her first CD, entitled "Not Deaf
Enough," but things take a surprising twist when
she opens for Bob's deaf rock band, Beethoven's Nightmare.
WHAT I'M SAYING is the first American film to be fully
subtitled for the country's 30 million deaf and hard of
hearing viewers and opens the door into deaf culture for
those who are "signing impaired."
culture is unique. Out of the nearly 30 million deaf and
hard of hearing Americans, only 10% have a parent who is
deaf, making deaf culture one of the only heritages in the
world that is rarely handed down from parents to children.
Deaf culture is composed of a community of people who consider
deafness to be a difference in human experience rather than
a disability. There are deaf entertainers within the community
who perform mostly for deaf audiences, many of whom are
trying to cross over to the mainstream. This film is about
four of those entertainers.
WHAT I'M SAYING is a powerful and unique look at deaf
entertainers that touches on the human nature of these unsung
artists. Its universal appeal transcends the four intertwined
stories, allowing audiences to peek inside deaf culture
and see this vibrant community in a fascinating new light.
The humor and the pathos are eloquently supported by Kubilay
Üner's soaring score and guided by director/producer
Hilari Scarl's unique vision.