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Deaf Cinema

  • By: Patti Durr
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Deaf cinema has been an important part of the Deaf experience, as American Sign Language (ASL) is the first known language, predating any spoken language, to have been recorded on film. Natural sign languages also employ cinematic features in their storytelling techniques. Advances in filmmaking and editing, in addition to Deaf film festivals and broad bandwidth for disseminating films via the Internet, have been instrumental in the growth of Deaf cinema.

The first known filmed recording of ASL is Deaf Mute Girl Reciting the Star Spangled Banner, shot in 1902. Shortly after that, George W. Veditz, two-time president of the National Association of the Deaf, collected $5,000 in funds to set up a Moving Picture Project to film prominent Deaf and hearing leaders using ASL. The ...

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