DEAF JAM, a story of American Sign Language poetry and intercultural collaboration
The Multicultural Center, on November 3rd, hosted a well-attended screening of Deaf Jam and discussion lead by Dr. Brenda Brueggemann, OSU professor, member faculty of DISCO, and author of the book Deaf Subjects.
Deaf Jam is a documentary film (directed and produced by JudyLieff, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) about Aneta Brodski, a deaf teen and Israeli immigrant in New York City. The film narrates Brodski’s discovery of American Sign Language Poetry, her bold entrance to the world of spoken poetry slams, and her subsequent encounter and performance collaboration with Tahani Salah, a hearing Palestinian slam poet.
The standing-room-only attendance included OSU faculty (from DISCO and the American Sign Language program primarily), staff and students – including MFA student-poets and students taking ASL courses for "foreign" language credit at OSU - as well a large group of deaf middle- and high schoolers from the Ohio School for the Deaf, who came on a bus to campus. Animated discussion followed the screening, involving many of both the hearing and non-hearing attendees and included a final performance of one Ohio School for the Deaf student’s own slam poem (created "on site").
“Poetry, friendship and respect transcend politics...Delightful and endearing, utilizing upbeat music and clever graphics, Deaf Jam immerses us in the richness and complexity of deaf culture and gives us a unique perspective into a world so vibrant, so diverse, it may forever change the way we see the non-hearing.” Barbara Pokras, A.C.E. - Woodstock Film Festival.
“Can poetry save lives? One film director is sure it can.”
Ann Gibbons, Daily Freeman
“A riveting documentary simply because the deaf Israeli teenager at the center of the film, Aneta Brodski, is so charmingly expressive, especially when she pantomines the sperm and egg dance that led to her birth.: ‘And that is me!’”
Karen Badt, Huffington Post
“ASL poetry relies heavily on visuals and movement, and Lieff's film follows suit, with lensing on a variety of digital formats, colorful tech wizardry and fast-paced cutting. A hip soundtrack further adds to the pic's street cred for hearing auds.”
Boyd Van Hoeij, Variety
"Deaf Jam is a documentary you can't take your eyes off of. If you do, you're probably missing the point."
Abigail Darlington, Charleston City Paper