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Deaf Shorts to Premiere at Transgender Film Festival

November 3, 2009

Attention GAB readers living in the Bay Area! If you’re looking for plans for the upcoming weekend, consider checking out Tranny Fest, San Francisco’s own transgender film festival, now celebrating its twelfth year.

Of particular interest is the world premiere of excerpts from Lexie Cannes, a film by Tom Bertling. The film tells the story of a deaf woman who is being stalked, and it features multiple deaf and transgender actors (Bertling himself is also deaf). The dialogue is conveyed through American Sign Language and closed captioning.

Check out the trailer for Lexie Cannes below:

I am not an expert on deaf cinema, but as a former film student, I am very intrigued by films that don’t rely on spoken dialogue. Since film is primarily a visual medium, it makes perfect sense for sound elements to be flexible. As long as one can tell a story through visual means, should audio really need to play a role? I find that the lack of sound in a film can be equally as powerful as the presence of it, so the idea of films geared toward deaf audiences seems to be one of the most natural, creative and innovative ways to use the medium.

And it doesn’t surprise me that this film is also a transgender film. By its very nature, queer cinema has always relied on risk-taking and utilizing unconventional storytelling methods. Because so much of it exists outside of mainstream attention, queer cinema has the freedom to experiment and explore creativity in ways that films hoping to attract a more traditional audience seldom try. So it seems natural for deaf cinema and queer cinema to overlap. Both communities are accustomed to making films that attract viewers often ignored by mainstream production companies, and both manage to do this through unique and innovative uses of the medium.

For those of you able to do so, I highly recommend checking out Lexie Cannes at Tranny Fest this weekend. Though I haven’t seen the film myself, it is sure to be a unique exploration of gender and filmmaking techniques. You can check out reviews of Lexie Cannes here.

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