Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cinemanila’s deaf section could set a precedent

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The deaf section of the 11th Cinemanila can lead to a whole industry of films made for and by the hearing impaired.

This is according to director Mike Sandejas, whose latest movie, “Dinig Sana Kita,” is part of the international film festival’s special section billed as Sights and Signs along with Michael Angelo Dagnalan’s “River of Dreams,” Miranamedina’s “Silent Odyssey” and Cesar Apolinario’s “Puntod.”

If moviegoers support these films, Sandejas said Cinemanila’s organizers would be inspired to turn Sights and Signs into a competition section that could even extend to other Southeast Asian countries hopefully by next year.

“It’s my advocacy at work that’s now shared by Cinemanila,” the enthusiastic director shared.

“There’s a large community of deaf in the world and I want all the deaf to know that now there’s an opportunity for them [to showcase their cinematic works] kung sakaling gawa na. I believe there are a lot of documentaries made by deaf filmmakers,” he added.

Sandejas found this out when he attended the Brussels Film Festival in June and brought home with him copies of the entries to its deaf section.

Prior to that, he was already aware of the great interest of the deaf in being a part of the film industry. He recalled that during screenings of “Dinig Sana Kita,” deaf moviegoers were so elated to watch a story that is familiar to them and so thrilled for the deaf cast members, including its lead actor, Romalito Mallari.

“Someone said it was like Liberation Day for them,” he said.

So when the deaf expressed to him their desire in becoming an actor, a dancer or a filmmaker, Sandejas said he tries to help them in his own way.

For instance, he suggested for deaf actors to be cast for the ad of Hapee toothpaste, whose owner strong believes in the capabilities of the deaf that’s why he hires a lot of them in his company.

“May nasabi na ako [sa ‘Dinig’] pero mas marami pang p’wedeng masabi. We’re all curious to see what the deaf use as film language,” Sandejas pointed out.

“Dinig Sana Kita” will have a special screening on October 24, 6:30 p.m. at Cinema 6 of Market! Market! in Taguig City. Cinemanila is ongoing until October 25.