Through Deaf Eyes

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"Through Deaf Eyes," a two-hour HDTV documentary for PBS, explores nearly 200 years of Deaf life in America. The film presents the shared experiences of American history - family life, education, work, and community connections - from the perspective of deaf citizens. Narrated by actor Stockard Channing, the film includes interviews with former Gallaudet University president, Dr. I. King Jordan, and actors Marlee Matlin and Bernard Bragg, as well as historians and deaf Americans with diverse views on language use, technology and identity. The film presents the story of Deaf life in America - a story of conflicts, prejudice and affirmation that reaches the heart of what it means to be human. "Through Deaf Eyes" will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 21 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nation-wide (check local listings). In the rapidly changing world, the Deaf community has experienced revolutions of place, language, identity, and access. These revolutions have deep historic roots and profound individual impact. Bringing a Deaf cinematic lens to the film are six artistic works by Deaf media artists and filmmakers. Poignant, sometimes humorous, these films draw on the media artists' own lives and are woven throughout the documentary. The six filmmakers - Wayne Betts, Renee Visco, Tracey Salaway, Kimby Caplan, Arthur Luhn, and Adrean Mangiardi - introduce a Deaf frame of reference behind the documentary camera. To most people, "deaf" means to not hear. To Deaf people and these Deaf filmmakers, it means much more. "Through Deaf Eyes" does not approach the topic of deaf history from the perspective of sentimentality or of overcoming the inability to hear, nor does it deny the physical reality of being deaf. The documentary takes a straight-forward look at life for people who are part of the cultural-linguistic group who use American Sign Language and often define themselves as "Deaf" - with a capital, and cultural, "D" - and deaf people who, for a variety of reasons, do not...
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