Journey to Self Definition

Hear and Now (OC)
Irene Taylor Brodsky, Director, 2006, USA

Paul and Sally met as children, fell in love, married and raised a family. They’ve shared a rich life together and have been active and accomplished members of the deaf community. Yet, after 65 years of silence, they decide to undergo cochlear implant surgery and explore a totally unfamiliar world – the realm of sound.

In this deeply personal memoir, filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky documents her deaf parents’ complex decision to undergo a risky and controversial medical procedure – the only one that can actually restore a sense.

How will this operation transform them: their relationship with each other and their sense of identity within a deaf world they are leaving behind? Hear and Now invites us into the private world of the deaf and allows us to experience everyday sounds as if for the first time. This is a magical and deeply moving love story of two people who embark on an extraordinary journey from silence to sound. The question is, what will they make of it? And what might they gain, or lose, forever?

Nominated: Motion Picture Producer of the Year Awards, Producers Guild of America, 2008, Los Angeles, USA | Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival, 2007, USA | Nominated for Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 2007, USA | Winner of Best Documentary Award, Heartland Film Festival, 2007, USA | Crystal Heart Audience Award, Heartland Film Festival, 2007, USA | Top 10 Audience Award, Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, 2007, Toronto, Canada | Audience Award, Middle East International Film Festival, 2007, United Arab Emirates.

View the Hear and Now trailer on Youtube.

Irene Taylor Brodsky's deaf parents, Paul and Sally
hear and now dvd cover

As Slow As Possible (OC)
Scott Smith, Director, 2008, Canada

On his 18th birthday, Ryan Knighton was told he would slowly go blind. It’s taken fifteen years, and as Ryan prepares to let go of his last sliver of sight, he sets out to Germany to hear one note give away to another in the notorious 639 year long organ performance of the John Cage composition, As Slow as Possible.

John Cage intended his piece to be performed as slowly as possible. Originally written for piano, Cage later rewrote the piece for organ, so the notes could be sustained even longer. After his death in 1992, a group of people in Halberstadt built a pipe organ in an old monastery, and stretched this four page composition over the life span of the organ – some 639 years. The organ plays continuously. Notes are sustained for months or years, and on occasion, according to the score, and at the hands of humans, the notes are changed.

Caning his way through the uncertainty-riddled experience of a road trip, Ryan navigates a series of ‘note changes’ in the form of airports, train stations, the unfamiliar hubbub of foreign cities, and people – some of whom don’t believe he’s blind at all, and one who offers him something profound. The experience unfolds like a Cage piece itself – a series of chance encounters through a labyrinth of questions, as Ryan contemplates letting go of his old identity, and waits for the new one to emerge.

On stage for Insights Q&A session with real time captioning are from left to right: session moderator Catherine MacKinnon, producer Robin Cass Smith and Ryan Knighton from As Slow As Possible, Paul and Sally Taylor from Hear and Now, ASL interpreter from Right This Way Access Consulting.

photo of John Cage
q&a session

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