Friday, August 5, 2011

John Nikolakopoulos on Quiet Signs of Love

Have you seen the wonderful videos for Quiet Signs of Love yet? They tell the story of a love that blossoms between two college students Daniel and Hannah. Their romance is complicated by the fact that Daniel is hearing and Hannah is deaf. Can they overcome their differences and find a way to communicate their true selves to each other? Can they find a place in each other's world? I was fascinated to see how this would play out for them since deaf/hearing relationships have a reputation for being difficult to maintain. Would Daniel and Hannah be one of the successful couples or would they become another statistic? You can see for yourself by watching the videos below, but first I'd like to tell you a bit more about the films and why I'm pleased to post them on my blog.

I was recently contacted by John Nikolakopoulos, director of ikonfilm, and asked to help spread the word about Quiet Signs of Love. Because of my passion for increasing deaf awareness through quality media productions, I am happy to assist John by recommending the videos to all of you. Especially when he told me that if these videos receive enough hits, he will be able to create a third episode or possibly create a feature film from the story.

I asked him to tell me more about how he came to make Quiet Signs of Love and this was his reply:

The film is a response to a callout from the National Relay Service for a viral video to promote their service.

When I looked deep into Deaf culture online, I found a community for whom the internet had a very deep impact. It not only brought together a global Deaf community, it also bridged the hearing and deaf worlds, making the barriers between the two less formidable.

A viral video has the connotation of being a quick shallow laugh that is easily spread, but I immediately wanted to provide something that would have more substance and relevance to the deaf experience. The internet provided deaf specific video channels through a variety of blogs and youtube channels, and providing rich and meaningful content for this forum would be much more valuable and have a longer life than a quick cheap funny short video.

Every line and every scene in the film was carefully written to have a relevance to the experience of deaf people. For example, the dinner scene is a reversal of the kind of experience deaf people have in social gatherings, where everyone is speaking and they are left out. By having a hearing person in this situation, its a little bit of Schaudenfreude (pleasure obtained from the troubles of others). In the following scene where the couple have a fight, its the male protagonist Daniel's attitude towards her deafness that is the obstacle. Not the actual deafness itself.

This film is designed to build an awareness of the National Relay Service, but ultimately, it is designed to service the Deaf community by making the NRS part of something bigger - building bridges between deaf and hearing worlds. But instead of an annoying ad to remind us of this, an engaging movie that serves the community is a nicer way to do it.

Quiet Signs of Love, Part One

Quiet Signs of Love, Part Two

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