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Gallaudet University is gearing up to host the first WORLDEAF Cinema Festival (WDCF). The event will bring new films, workshops, and an awards night to campus November 4 to 7.
WDCF will offer a unique blend of fresh films, all shown in venues on the historic Gallaudet campus. Film subjects include burglary on Christmas Eve, a decision about a cochlear implant, a man with unusual manual talents, artist Chuck Baird, and two women’s experiences in the Holocaust. The treatments range from dramatic to humorous, full-length documentary to nine-minute short–all with a connection to the deaf community.
“It is fitting that Gallaudet, where the roots of American deaf culture run both deep and strong, is the venue for WDCF,” said Gallaudet President T. Alan Hurwitz. “We believe that WDCF will quickly become recognized as foremost among festivals showcasing the creativity of deaf and hard of hearing filmmakers.”
The four-day event will provide a forum for filmmakers and scholars to explore the unique perspectives brought to the art of filmmaking by deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as by hearing filmmakers whose works reflect deaf themes. Presentations will be given by noted experts on a broad range of topics, including famed Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr., one of the festival’s main keynote speakers, who will share his experiences in film, as well as MacArthur Award recipient Dr. Carol Padden, whose speech will kick off the festival.
Up-and-coming actors Russell Harvard and Shoshannah Stern, both Gallaudet alumni, will also make appearances. The two star in the forthcoming film Hamill, a true story based on the life of deaf wrestler Matt Hamill.
Workshops will focus on writing for the screen, child actors in TV and film, creating successful documentary films, acting, directing, and other topics.
A competition of over 170 films is another feature of the festival. The submissions have been judged by a panel of experts and the winning films, as well as others that received high marks from the judges, will be shown daily during the festival. All films will have English subtitles.
The festival will culminate in an awards ceremony that will feature a presentation by Academy Award-winning actress and Honorary WDCF Chair Marlee Matlin.
“The WORLDEAF Cinema Festival aims to bring much deserved attention to the creativity of many deaf and hard of hearing filmmakers,” said Dr. Hurwitz. “I guarantee that the films shown during the festival will inspire, provoke, delight, entertain, and enlighten one and all.”
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