Young deaf people in Warsaw share their wonders of the city.
This film was created by Brendan Jackson and Paulina Paga with pupils attending the Jakuba Falkowskiego Deaf Institute, premiered at the ‘PoWisle i Po Pradze’ event, in Warsaw on 26 April, 2008. [mygal=cudadeaf]
Why work with a deaf group? Well, I kept seeing a lot of deaf people on the bus from the centre to Praga, and often would see groups of people signing at Wilenski. Here was a group of people that no-one from cultural animation had any experience of working with. I wanted to invite them to participate in the project, to use their beautiful visual language of hand movements to tell us about their Wonders of the city and to document this on film for a wider audience. Simple and straightforward, yes? But how to communicate with this group of people as a non-Polish speaker? I made some drawings of their hand movements on the bus and showed them to the signers. They shrugged and smiled and probably thought I was a little crazy. I needed a Polish speaker with me to explain the idea – as some of them would no doubt be able to lip-read. Paulina offered to help and we were put in touch with the Deaf Institute and met with the Director. He agreed to participate and showed us round the Institute. It turned out they had a group of teachers and students interested in film-making – mostly documenting events or making some films to promote the work of the Institute. Paulina met with them for two workshops, to make a powerpoint presentation about the context of the overall project and to encourage them to think about what they would choose as a wonder and storyboard this. The third session was the actual filming. Ideally, we would have gone to each location that each individual described, but we had limited time with the group. So we agreed that they would each choose a location in the vicinity of the Deaf Institute as the backdrop. The filming session took about 2 hours. They had rehearsed the presentation of their idea and all contributions were filmed in a single take – except one when the group wanted to edit the contribution from Michał. He had about a dozen wonders he wanted to share on camera. They agreed on two at the end.
We had a discussion about whether or not to have any explanation of the signing – the group decided that there should be sub-titles after each person, in Polish and English and provided the text to accompany their signing. The background track is a recording of the ambient sound in the vicinity of the Institute, with all the sounds of the city in this particular locality.
One or two people attending the event and viewing the film asked us if the group were singing – due to the speed of some of the hand movements. Now, there’s an interesting idea to pursue….
Cuda: With students from – Udział wzięli uczniowie
Instytutu głuchoniemych im.Ks. Falkowskiego w Warszawie
Thankyou to – Specjalne podziękowania dla Pan: Moniki Dobrowolskiej, Joanny Łachety, Małgorzaty Czajkowskiej-Kisil oraz Pana Dyrektora Tadeusza Adamca.
The video is below but you can also go to youtube and view it full screen.