Brenae' Daniels filming crew

Creators Bree K. Jones/Shelley Meche’tte – Hands4Ears/I Hear You

Date grant awarded: March 2019

My work shines a light on a much over-looked community; the deaf community. As a Deaf Culture Merger, providing opportunities to help bridge the gap of misunderstanding between both communities is essential. My project adresses the lack of inclusion for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. We, the hearing community, have unknowingly isolated them from the simple day to day “privileges” that we experience as a society; such as picking up a phone and calling someone. This project exposes the predjuices and misconceptions that the hearing have toward the Deaf community and vice versa.

This work is important to me because it breaks my heart when my Deaf friends are treated less than, simply for being unable to hear. I hate watching my deaf friends become self-conscious in public, fearing that they will negatively draw too much attention to themselves when using their hands to communicate. I see the issues and the untold stories. If I sit and do nothing to help illuminate the issues associated with dismissing a certain group of people, then I have not only failed as a filmmaker, but I have failed as a friend and ally of the deaf community. We all want to see “ourselves” properly represented on screen. There is absolutely no way for us to be an inclusive society without their stories.

I want others to know and realize that we all play a role in bettering our society, and being able to see one another for who they are instead of the abilities that possess is a huge step in the right direction.

The initial seed grant was important to my work because we want to be able to efficiently tell a story that everyone can relate to. Without proper equipment and adequate locations options, we’re unable to give our best. Production is very expensive and this grant enables us to continue our work in providing inclusivity and awareness about the deaf community, through entertainment.

We invited eligible grantees to apply for up to $5,000 in Impact Grants which will allow them to apply their creativity and ingenuity to grow their projects to greater heights.

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