Featured Project: Deaf Jam
What happens when slam poetry meets sign language? The result is an incredibly moving performance by two teens, one deaf and one hearing, as captured in the documentary Deaf Jam. On Thursday November 3rd, Judy Lieff’s documentary story on American Sign Language (ASL) poetry, Deaf Jam, will premiere on PBS, and I highly recommend you watch it.
The film follows Aneta Brodski, a deaf teen in New York, as she is introduced to ASL Poetry and then boldly enters the spoken word slam scene. In a wondrous twist, Aneta meets Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet. The two women embark on a collaboration/performance duet – creating a new form of slam poetry that speaks to both the hearing and the Deaf. The film shows how these deaf high school students grapple with being deaf and loving themselves and their friends as they are, and wanting to be a part of the hearing world. The poetry is expressive and moving, and made me wish I understood sign language so I could fully appreciate each poem.
Judy did a brilliant job with the film and we were honored when she came to Righteous Pictures for help with her online campaign. Working with See Creative Design, we gave the website a “facelift” by reorganizing the information and flow, creating a style guide so all the colors and imagery matched throughout, and built out the “See the Film” and “Get Involved” sections. We also launched and have kicked off the Facebook page, Twitter and blog for Deaf Jam and if you have any interested in sign language, deaf culture, or slam poetry, I encourage you to follow Deaf Jam on one or all of those platforms. We also created a page on VYou so ASL users can submit questions to Aneta or Judy through a video. We hope the film will continue to inspire discussion and that you will join in!
Join us on November 3rd for the broadcast premiere of Deaf Jam on PBS starting November 3rd, or host your own screening of the film.