The 4th India International Deaf Film Festival, jointly organized by Jain University and Deaf Leaders Foundation (DLF), began on an inspiring note on 28th December, 2016 at JGI Knowledge Campus with Director of Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, C Senthil Rajan announcing to extend support and promote deaf films across the globe.
Addressing a panel discussion held on the topic ‘Space for the deaf in today’s cinema’, Mr Rajan said, “The Directorate is hoping to partner with DLF in organizing more such events. The films that you show here need to be seen in other parts of the country too. So the directorate is willing to support you in carrying these films to other parts of the country and show it in the festivals that we organize. It’s a tribute to all the film makers from deaf community. And it is part of our efforts to make your films accessible to the entire world.”
He further added, “The directorate will work with your organization to see what further steps we can take in not only helping deaf film makers in improving the skills but also helping them in showing their films in different parts of the country.”
“Films are visual medium and it definitely helps you to make a statement. Festivals like this will definitely give voice to your views and will help other people to understand your issues”, he continued.
He also hailed the spirit of the organizers by saying, “This festival has been going over the last four years and am happy to be here again. As the director of the Directorate of the Film Festival I understand how difficult it is to organize a film festival. And organizing this film festival would have been three times more difficult. And I must complement the entire team for carrying on this edition and see it grow every year.”
Shri M.I Ganagi, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Karnataka, who was also present in the inaugural session of the festival, promised to extend SHG-Bank Linkage programme for hearing-impaired community as well, as a part of their efforts to enhance financial inclusion in the country.
Mr Parvinder Singh, Manager, Corporate Communications and Partnerships, CBM India Trust, inspired all the young participants from the deaf community by saying that ‘silence doesn’t mean being voiceless and you’re a prime example of that’.
He went on by saying, “It’s been a wonderful journey for lot of us associated with this initiative. The biggest challenge is to take the issues and the views that are associated with them. About the mindsets and how media represents them and about the idea of inclusion.”
“Inclusion doesn’t really have to be defined as a gap between what is for the others and what is for the members of hearing-impairment or disable community. The films are an example of how silence speaks volume. And also highlights that there are linguistic rights that need to be recognized”, he added.
He further added, “The core of our engagement today is that inclusion is not about finding a space within the mainstream but actually making the mainstream inclusive.”
Mok Chiu Yu, President of Hong Kong Film and Theatre Society, was also present in the event and presided over a workshop held exclusively for the deaf community artists. He stressed how deaf artists have equal talents and potential like that of others. They can create equally amazing works and masterpieces as we see of other artists’.
He also emphasized the fact how Hong Kong, UK and the United States could establish separate council, university and even channels exclusively for deaf artists and students only with the support of government and strong financial assitance.
Dr. N Sundararajan, Vice Chancellor, Jain University said that this film festival will help to explore the challenges that the deaf people usually face and the ways by which they overcome.
He also mentioned how Jain University is actively engaged in extending support towards social causes and initiatives and about its many outreach activities. He also welcomed the members of deaf community to the university if they wish to pursue any specific course and advance knowledge. He promised to offer them all support and services.
32 Indian movies and 38 international movies, all that are created and enacted by the deaf artists, will be screened during this 4th edition of the film festival that will continue through 30th December, 2016.