Community Cinema

Community Cinema Screening Discussion, “Deaf Jam”

Champaign Public Library 200 W. Green St. Champaign, IL 61820-5193

This is the discussion following the screening of the film, "Deaf Jam," at the Champaign Public Library, October 04, 2011. Jack Brighton, Director of new media at Illinois Public Media moderated the discussion. Alan Thomas, Deaf Services Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator at PACE, Persons Assuming Control of their Environment, Susan Dramin-Weiss, a Visiting Lecturer in the department of Speech & Hearing Science and a member of the Illini Chapter of Illinois Association of the Deaf and Jazmine McKinney a Community Health student with a double concentration in Health Education and International Health and a poet representing SPEAK Café lead the discussion after the screening. Bunny Berg interpreted for the deaf audience members and Chelsey Wiley interpreted for Alan Thomas and Susan Dramin-Weiss.

ASL Poetry doesn't have much exposure here in Central Illinois. Alan remembered taking an ASL Poetry class when he studied at Gallaudet University, but there isn't much here. Susan was impressed by the poetry. It was very expressive and emotional. There are more rhyming possibilities with ASL poetry than with spoken poetry. ASL poetry doesn't translate easily to English. ASL and English are two different languages. The captions were sometimes different than what was signed. Speech that was censored for hearing audiences wasn't censored for the deaf audience. Some dialog was lost when visual edits were made on a person who was signing, but not often. ASL is taught in the local colleges, but not much at the lower levels. There weren't many other poets in the audience. Jazmine invited the audience to attend the next SPEAK Café. Deaf people don't consider their deafness a disability.