Arts in Action invites you to its June Social Action Film Night for the Australian Premiere of the award winning documentary Deaf Jam by Judy Lieff – the story of Deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word slam scene. At her school, Aneta joins an extracurricular program to learn American Sign Language poetry. She and her fellow students gradually find their inner voice in the poems they create. Aneta’s world opens up as she is tantalized by the possibility of competing in a poetry slam with mostly hearing competitors. Aneta is one of the first deaf youth to participate in a major slam event, and despite some initial anxiety about how the deaf performers might be received, she courageously takes the stage.
Passionate, fearless and expressive, Aneta an Israeli immigrant living in the Queens section of New York City, works hard at her craft and in a remarkable twist of fate, meets Tahani, a hearing Palestinian slam poet. The two women embark on a collaboration/performance duet and together they create a hearing/deaf duet touching on their shared personal and cultural experiences — generating a new form of slam poetry that crosses boundaries, cultures, and languages and speaks to both the hearing and the Deaf.
Utilizing high-energy music, animated graphic text, and other innovative techniques, Deaf Jam illuminates ASL poetry’s extraordinary potency and power. With ties to rap and hip-hop culture, the U.S. National Poetry Slams for youth have gained momentum across the country, highlighting a highly verbal and rhythmic form of self-expression.
By taking us inside a fascinating and vibrant world where self-expression and cultural identity are fiercely pursued, Deaf Jam may change the way we think about the non-hearing world forever.
“Deaf Jam is a celebration of American Sign Language poetry that doubles as a primer of Deaf Culture, triples as a personal story of Israeli and Palestinian friendship, quadruples as a snapshot of the economic impact of our immigration law, and multiplies as many, many other things. This is truly a beautiful, powerful film, providing a mesmerizing experience.” Adam Hartzell
Representatives from the Deaf Arts Network, Centre for Poetics and Justice and Slamalamadingdong Poetry Slam will lead a post screening discussion on the topics raised in the film and to explore the potential for collaboration between hearing and Deaf poets in Melbourne. The film is fully captioned and Auslan signing interpreters will be present on the night.
Watch the Trailer
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Arts in Action currently hosts a Social Action Film Night at Bella Union Trades Hall (Cnr Lygon & Victoria Pde, Carlton) on the last Thursday of the month. Documentary film is a powerful tool to not only share personal stories, but to inspire action. Arts in Action evenings are community focused events featuring a blend of inspiring films and empowering solutions. You don’t walk away without appreciating life just that little bit more…. and wanting to do something with it.