Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Black deaf filmmaker wants to address lack of representation with film & TV projects

From IndieWire:

Ann Marie Bryan (who goes by the nom-de-plume Queen Jade) is the FIRST (her capital letters, not mine) Jamaican-American deaf filmmaker who proudly calls herself “a pioneer in her own right.” And who’s going to argue with that?

She has been producing and writing films for over 20 years and her previous feature film, If You Could Hear My Own Tune, was accepted into several film festivals, including 2011’s San Francisco Black Film Festival and Roxbury International Film Festival.

As she says, she believes “in social change and social justice and believes in promoting, spreading and increasing awareness about the lack of Deaf African-American actors cast in roles in the mainstream movie industry and in television.”

And one major area of concern for her is the huge lack of representation of black deaf culture, adding that the media at large “lacks representation addressing issues regarding diversity, intersectionalities and Deaf People of Color. We all have stories to share, so many!”

As the result of that goal, Ms. Bryan has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $75,000 to produce four original films she intends to make.

The first project, the feature film The Shattered Mind, is now in post-production with the aim of being done in time to submit to the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

She calls Shattered Mind “a psychodrama and surreal story about a hard-of-hearing teenager who juggles family, peer and culture conflicts while in search of her own sexual identity, freedom, and self-realization.”

The film’s protagonist, Zhane Rain, is an intense and carefree high school senior with three generations of hearing and deaf family members who unravels family secrets behind the traumatic brain injury that caused her deafness. 

Ms. Bryan is also currently developing two new TV-oriented pilots for 2014. The first one, The Two Essences, is a contemporary story about a modern-day deaf mother-daughter relationship; a day trader mother, who one day quit her job to go back to school. 

The other TV pilot is titled Kaomi’s Three Charms, about a New York hard-of-hearing filmmaker who befriends a deaf playwright, an actor and a musician. 

But Ms. Bryan soldiers on, as she says, “because I am persistent and relentless. I believe in the cause. I am passionate about my films, my community… We are constantly being ignored, being shoved on the sidelines. Marginalized as we call it. I am determined to change that.