Picture a teenager along on a stage, facing a rapt audience. She’s competing in a poetry slam, pouring her heart out in words that rhyme, snap, pop and sizzle. Her body conveys intensity — arms flying, feet stomping. Now imagine she isn’t actually speaking.
Deaf Jam is a documentary that protrays the journey of Aneta Brodski, a deaf teen who wants to compete in poetry slams, which have gained wide popularity among youth all over the country. But, as the filmmaker, Judy Lieff, points out, “very seldom do deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing students have the opportunity to participate together in the arts of mainstream educational programs.” Deaf Jam also contains a marvelous twist.
“Filmmaker Judy Lieff chronicles a journey of self-realization for deaf teen Aneta Brodski, as she reveals her passions, frustrations, and sense of humor through her exploration of American Sign Language Poetry. Unique among her deaf high school friends, Aneta longs to fully participate in the hearing world. Her artistry evolves within her ASL poetry group, and eventually she decides to compete in a spoken word poetry slam. With ties to rap and hip hop culture, the U.S. National Poetry Slams for youth are widespread, but Aneta is among the first Deaf teens to brave that highly verbal arena. The film captures her experiences as she conveys her inner self to hearing audiences. In a remarkable twist of fate, Aneta – who is a Deaf Israeli – meets and then collaborates with Tahani – a hearing Palestinian slam poet. They create a hearing/deaf duet touching on their shared personal and cultural experiences – generating a new form of slam poetry that speaks to both the hearing and the Deaf.”
In October, teens (and adults) can view a screening of Deaf Jam in Seattle and other locations around Western Washington for free. Community Cinema will host the events. The film screening includes closed captioning, an audience discussion afterwards and in some places, ASL interpretation. Visit the Facebook pages for more information.
Saturday, October 22, 2pm – 4 pm
The Frye Art Museum
704 Terry Avenue
Thursday, October 20, 6pm – 8pm
Washington State History Museum
1911 Pacific Ave
Thursday, October 27, 7pm – 9pm
The State Capital Museum
211 SW 21st Avenue
Sunday, October 16, 3pm – 5pm
Ober Park Performance Room
Wednesday, October 25, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Pickford Film Center
1318 Bay St