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Deaf Oscars Showcase Outstanding Talent

MEDIA RELEASE
21 September 2005


Deaf Oscars Showcase Outstanding Talent

Deaf Awareness Week : 19-25 September 2005


To coincide with Deaf Awareness Week, the winners of the New Zealand Deaf Film Competition have been announced.

The competition, themed around “Planet of the Deaf” showcased short films either written, produced or directed by a Deaf person.

Wellington woman, Victoria Manning, scooped the Awards with her short film “Land of the Deaf” in which she acted and directed. The film, winning Best Comedy, Best Actress and Best Short Film, is about a woman who begins to lose her deafness. Eventually she becomes ‘profoundly hearing’ and must learn to cope with her disability. The premise is that everyone is Deaf on this planet and hearing is a strange condition that needs to be treated.

Victoria Manning, who is also an analyst with the Office for Disability Issues, said it was a huge thrill to win so many accolades.

“Land of the Deaf is meant to be funny but it also makes a statement about Deaf people’s lives and dreams.

“This was my first attempt at making a film but I did have a bit of help from my husband who has some experience in short films. He was cameraman and writer so it was very much a team effort. We had such a good time that we are now busy making a feature length documentary on New Zealand sign language,” said Ms Manning.

The judging panel comprising UK TV producer, Bob Duncan, Blenheim based documentary filmmaker, Paul Davidson and West Coast filmmaker, Helen Bollinger commented that Victoria’s brilliant performance as the lead character made for a funny and effective film that powerfully communicated a message that undermines all our preconceptions.

Film Festival organiser, Brent Macpherson, said the second Deaf Film Competition had been firmly embraced by the Deaf community and provided the opportunity for Deaf people to tell their stories to a wider community.

“The Deaf community has its own unique culture and visual language. For Deaf culture to be understood and appreciated it must be shown through the beauty of the Deaf community’s own visual language. Through film Deaf people can begin the journey of telling their stories, compellingly, to a wider audience.

“Apart from having a lot of fun making their films, the filmmakers have had the opportunity to deliver some very powerful messages.,” said Mr Macpherson.

The New Zealand Deaf Association is working with the British Deaf Association and it is likely some of the films will be screened at the British Film Festival being held next March in Birmingham.


CATEGORY WINNERS :

- Best Short Film – Land of the Deaf (directed/acted : Victoria Manning, Wellington)
- Best Director – Brent Macpherson, Cambridge for Your Move
- Best Actress – Victoria Manning for Land of the Deaf
- Best Actor – Michael May, Dunedin for Planet of the Deaf News
- Best comedy – Land of the Deaf (Victoria Manning)
- Best scenario/script – Oliver Ferguson, Christchurch for God’s Punishment
- Best editing – Sonia Pivac, Auckland for Through the Hands
- Best camera work – Daniel Harborne, Auckland for Burning Out
- Best Director runner up – Sonia Pivac, Auckland for Through the Hands
- Best Short Film runner up – God’s Punishment directed by Oliver Ferguson, Christchurch

ENDS

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