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PIA Press Release
2008/11/20

Docu film on RP deaf community to be shown in Dumaguete

Dumaguete City (20 November) -- Filmmaker Mirana Medina's "Silent Odyssey", the first documentary about the Filipino deaf community, will be shown at Bethel Guest House on November 28.

The film will have three scheduled showings at 1:00, 3:00 and 6:00 p.m.

The film showing is sponsored by GPRehab, a local non-government organization that works with children with disabilities, and is meant to raise awareness about integrating the deaf into a hearing society.

"My hope is to help people in our society to be able to welcome the deaf in the society," Mirana Medina states. "I don't believe there should be a line between the two."

All done in sign language with English sub-titles, the film depicts the struggles of the deaf and how they cope in a hearing world. With interviews with Markku Joniken, President of the World Federation of the Deaf, it also focuses on Deaf achievers who are worthy of emulation by the Filipino Deaf youth.

The most important feature of the film is its tackling the issue of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as a way of defining the cultural identity of the Filipino Deaf as a distinct cultural-linguistic minority group. Interestingly, one of the discoveries of Medina while researching for the film was an account of the existence of some form of sign language used by Filipinos during the 17th century, as narrated by Spanish Missionary Pedro Chirino.

As it is today, although American Sign Language (ASL) is the one that is being taught in Special Education schools, Article 5 Section 1.4.1 of DepEd's Policies and Guidelines for Special Education states that "Filipino Sign Language shall be used in the education of the hearing impaired."

Medina, who used to collaborate with known director Tikoy Aguiluz, has previously made two documentaries, one of which was Alyana, a film about autism and which was also shown in Dumaguete. Aside from taking her films to different parts of the country, she is now busy gathering materials for her third film on disability. (PIA) [top]

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