British Deaf Film making was given a boost this week as three awards went to British talent at the Italian Cinedeaf Film Festival in Rome.
Director Ted Evans won best Director in the fiction category for Retreat and Sophie Stone also won Best Interpretation for her leading role in the same film. Camilla Arnold won Best Director in the Documentary contest with Who Cares? a moving insight into life for elderly Deaf people in the UK.
The good news from Italy follows British success at France’s Clin d’Oeil festival of Deaf culture in July where Evans also won the award for Best Film with Retreat.
He said: “I’m delighted to have won best director of the fiction contest.”
“We were up against bigger films and filmmakers that I have a lot of respect for. It’s always nice to be awarded for your work and I am glad people are enjoying Retreat. I’m even more delighted with Sophie Stone’s best actor award because that is a compliment I can take personally as a director.”
“Having one of my actors awarded for giving a quality performance means we’ve been doing something right on set and I hope to see many more actors recognised and awarded for performances in my films. Sophie worked ever so hard and it was an absolute pleasure to work with her.”
Retreat was premièred at Deafest in May this year and is currently touring film festivals worldwide. The film is set in a cult Deaf commune during grim economic circumstances. Sophie Stone plays the role of a drabby community member who, by a chance encounter with a hearing thief, leads to cult-think at its most heinous.
Sophie, who was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, said of her award: “Working with the dream-team of Ted Evans and Beverley Wilson (producer) was just brilliant. Mesmerising to watch, playful and encouraging yet disciplined and focused. Both are very passionate and driven by thier desire to create art a high level. And with such constraints and budget, this pressure pushed all of us to produce the best work we could to prove it was possible.”
“I am incredibly touched by the faith they put in me and the award from the lovely people of Rome. I’ve never won an award like this before. It’s nice to feel something you have grafted on has been acknowledged and celebrated in this way and that your part in it is recognised too.”
“It is great knowing that our work is travelling the globe, being seen by deaf and hearing people who also celebrate the future of film involving deaf actors or sign language.”
By Andy Palmer, Deputy Editor
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