The nominations are in for WORLDEAF Cinema Festival’s (WDCF) filmmaker award competition taking place Nov. 4 through 7 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.  Out of a staggering 173 submissions from 132 filmmakers from 30 countries, the 11-member judging committee has selected 17 films from seven countries.  A complete list of the nominated films is below.

Films were submitted in five professional categories, including Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best Mini-15 and Best Film about the Deaf Experience by a Hearing Filmmaker. The selection reflects the wide variety of subject matter and storylines created by deaf and hard-of-hearing filmmakers as well as hearing filmmakers.  From works just nine minutes long to full-length narratives, the nominated films depict fiction and non-fiction stories, not just about deaf culture and topics, but the overall human experience.

The chosen films will be shown during the conference’s daily film screenings that are open to the public (ticket information below). Winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony November 6.

Said Dr. Jane Norman, Chair and Director/Producer of WDCF, “The films chosen are true examples of what deaf cinema has to offer.  We wanted to bring the deaf experience to a mainstream audience while also showcasing the talent of these filmmakers. Their stories tell and show how powerful deaf cinema is and we hope that people come and enjoy these extraordinary films.”

The nominees from the student film category will be announced shortly. A schedule of what films will be shown when and the ticket information for the daily screenings, which are now on sale online, can be found on the WDCF website at ( Additionally, tickets can be purchased at the Gallaudet University Box Office.

Category: Best Narrative

Exhibit of Year 1827
A Czech tourist, Frank, on a seemingly innocent holiday inadvertently catches Mafia individuals in action through his video camera.
Czech Republic
Producer: AWI Films            
Director: Kamil Pansky

Music is Not Everything
A guy has a dream of being a musician, but he suddenly becomes deaf and faces an unscrupulous cochlear implant doctor
Producer: Bull Heart
Director/Writer: Gergin Simeonov

Corey, a young man, yearns for kinship he never had. One day he discovers he has a deaf Autistic grandfather. A twist of events leads to shocking truths.
Producer: ASL Films
Director: Mark Wood

Category: Best Documentary

I’m Deaf and I Didn’t Know
This is a story of a deaf woman’s journey towards discovering her identity.
Producer: PDJ
Production Director: Igor Ochronowicz
Writer: Sandrine Herman

Anna’s Silent Struggle
Young deaf filmmaker Tom searches for answers to what happened to deaf Jews during the war, and he chances upon the story of Anna, one of the few deaf persons who survived Auschwitz.
The Netherlands
Producer: AVA
Directors: Tom Linszen and Willy Lindwer

American De’VIA Artist: Chuck Baird and His Journey
Deaf artist Chuck Baird reflects on social changes in the Deaf World. Baird struggled with his deaf identity and eventually became one of the founding members of the De’VIA art movement.
Producer/Director/Writer: Tracey D. Salaway

Category: Best Short

Catch Santa
A comedy about two hearing burglars who rob homes of deaf families on Christmas Eve.
Producers: Brian Milburn and Romeal Hogan
Director: Kamau Buchanan

Deaf in Pink: 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego
The story follows seven deaf women as they stride, laugh, cry and triumph during their
three-day Susan G. Komen Walk.
Producer/Director: Laura Harvey

The Ants and the Grasshopper
The traditional dream for people is just to work hard for a company until they retire and then to enjoy their hobbies.  Shingo, the main character shows both sides of the ants and the grasshopper, when he is suddenly fired.
Producer: Deaf Movie Entertainment Prodia
Director: Nobuhiro Ohdate

The Fingerspellers
A comedy about a family of deaf gangsters who protect themselves through the power of sign language.
Director: William Mager
Writer: Charles Swinbourne

Category: Best Mini-15

The Deaf Man
The film addresses the destiny of deaf people in an age of technological improvements such as the cochlear implant. A man is held against his wishes by an unseen narrator who questions the man’s choices as a deaf individual.
Producer: Jules Dameron
Director/Writer: David Kurs

Hands Solo
“The Porn Star With the Midas Touch” What if a deaf man becomes an internationally famous porn star? Hands Solo is a comedic mockumentary about a deaf man who does just that – all because he is very, very good with his hands.
Producers: Colin Pons and Scott James Bassett
Director: William Mager
Writer: Charlie Swinbourne

Tara’s Story
A film of Gallaudet’s 2006 Protest through the eyes of one of the student leaders, Tara. The protests ignite a new direction fueled by a common belief among students.
Producer/Director/Writer: Melissa Malzkuhn

Category: Best Film about the Deaf Experience by a
Hearing Filmmaker

Signs of the Time
Where did the signs of the baseball come from? In explaining this simple question, “Signs of the Time” unveils stories of inspiration that transcend sports. The film introduces two men at the center of this controversy and investigates our need to overcome barriers of communication with those around us.
Producer/Director: Don Casper

Universal Signs
After the death of his fiancée’s daughter while in his care, Andrew (Anthony Natale) is tormented by memories and self-blame.  Through new love, Andrew is able to sense  life around him.
Producer: Catherine Miller
Director/Writer: Ann Calamia

“See What I’m Saying”
A film following four well-known deaf entertainers in the deaf community: a comic, a drummer, an actor, and a singer in their attempts to cross over to mainstream audiences.
Producer/Director: Hilari Scarl

Through Ingelore’s eyes, we see how the Nazis take her father and then release him from Dachau. Ingelore, a deaf woman, talks about how she was raped by Nazi cadets on the street of Berlin. Her story demonstrates the power of light over darkness.
Producer/Director/Writer: Frank Stiefel

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