As you know, outside of hip-hop I am very active in community & social services, especially the disability community. I would like to introduce you to Jade Bryan who is the first Black Film Maker with a hearing impairment.
Jade Bryan – The First Deaf Black Filmmaker
Ann Marie Bryan is the writer-producer-director of the upcoming film, The Shattered Mind, which is currently in postproduction. She’s currently raising finishing funds for her film so she can submit to 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Here is a link to the film’s IndieGoGo page:
Support The Shattered Mind on IndieGoGo.
The Shattered Mind, based in New York, is 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. 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.
Like the character in my film, Zhane Rain, I also endured a traumatic brain injury as a child. As a result of that injury, I also lost my hearing, so I know what it’s like dealing with family secrets, or not having to know the cause of my hearing loss until very recently. While growing up, I felt like I was living my life with a big “?” over my head every time someone would ask me how I became deaf. I’d tell them that I had no idea. The film, which I wrote and plan to direct, is fictional, but I used some of my own real-life experiences while writing the script.
I’m passionate about making a film about the black deaf experience because no one is telling our stories. My work is not limited to making movies about the black deaf experience; however, I feel the timing is just right and I am raising $14,500 in finishing funds to complete the short film.
To better understand where I come from, one needs to understand that I live my life in three different cultural worlds. My personal world is a trinity of these worlds: Deaf, Jamaican-born but living now in America, and hearing. I utilize American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, and the barrier of sound is a life-long challenge for me. This further exacerbates my life-long challenge of living in a world of sound. Therefore, I have three strikes against me as every day I fearlessly face societal, linguistic and cross-cultural barriers.
I was brought up in a mainstream society, one that had a tremendous influence on my life as a person with a hearing loss. As a filmmaker, I want to produce films about this experience. I want to tell and expose stories to audiences who will pay to see my films. I want to make films for television and the silver screen about issues from a non-traditional point of view commonly shared by Deaf people.
Through my films, I address a variety of paradoxical issues such as race, family conflicts, biracial and/or bicultural dynamics, socially conscious issues such as the inconsistently-heated debate over cochlear implants, same-sex relationships, domestic violence, rape, police brutality and mistreatment against Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, AIDS in the Deaf community, and interpersonal relationships between Deaf and hearing people who face cross-cultural and communication barriers.
Everyday, we deal with oppression, ignorance and bigotry. I tell these stories in a passionate manner with a strong urge to spread messages of love, awareness, diverse communication, education, uplifting, and peace-sharing that has been neglected by today’s ignorant and troubled world. These messages need more potency to be heard everywhere. As an artist who is deeply in touch with emotions, I respond well to human connection and the human condition; I want to tap into these emotions by making films that expose the human side of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people from all backgrounds, especially people of color.
Instead of turning to others for support, I established a film production company in 2006 to produce my own work as an avenue to address these three worlds, and other human experiences as well, in today’s society. Today, I am a respected and well-versed leader and filmmaker in my own right who serves as a model to others.
One of my biggest challenges as a filmmaker is getting people to support my work and believe in what I set out to do. I am not a quitter. I was born to produce film. I continue to have two main challenges: The inability to hear sound when I am working on my films, and getting financing for those films.