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If your child was born deaf, would you want them to be able to hear? What if it meant being shunned, criticized, and judged.
If your child was born deaf, would you want them to be able to hear? What if it meant being shunned, criticized, and judged.
559 backers pledged $36,242 to help bring this project to life.

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Louder Than Words - A Documentary on Cochlear Implants

$36,242

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Louder Than Words
Louder Than Words

Seven years in the making, Louder Than Words, a feature length documentary film, follows two families as they deal with the struggles and controversy involved in trying to break the barriers between the hearing and deaf worlds for the benefit of their children.

Leah & Lucy Coleman 2012
Leah & Lucy Coleman 2012

What many in the hearing world fail to understand is that being deaf comes with its own community, culture, and values. So when a small device, known as the cochlear implant, was invented to give deaf people the ability to hear, it was seen by some as a direct affront to those values.

Throughout the years, depicting the families choices with deafness allows Louder Than Words to challenge a lot of opinions and convictions on both sides of the cochlear implant debate.

Stark Family 2009
Stark Family 2009

The Story

What happens when deaf parents choose to implant their deaf 
children? How will the Deaf Community, that they’ve been a part of their entire lives, respond? 

Jill and Michael Stark are both deaf, as are their two children. Stuck between two cultures and wanting the best future for their children, they make the controversial choice for both of their children to undergo surgery for cochlear implants. They are part of only a handful of deaf parents in the US to choose implants for their children. After this seven year journey, was the result of the cochlear implant what they had hoped for?

Leah Coleman's Implant
Leah Coleman's Implant

When a deaf child is born to hearing parents, it seems logical that they would look to surgery to "fix" this disability. Rachel Coleman, the creator and star of the beloved children’s show, Signing Time, has been teaching American Sign Language to families for almost 15 years. 

When Rachel was told that her deaf daughter, Leah, was going to graduate with a 3rd grade reading level, she refused to believe it. Was American Sign Language the answer for better communication? Signing Time was a direct result of Rachel wanting to help her daughter. Was the impact it had on Leah what she had hoped for? 

Rachel has rarely spoken openly about Leah's cochlear implant surgery at age 6. In this feature length documentary, the Coleman family take us step by step through their decision making process, their hopes and fears for their deaf child, and includes never before seen footage of Leah's implant activation, and Leah's journey from birth to graduating high school.

Rachel and Leah Coleman 2015
Rachel and Leah Coleman 2015

Regardless of your view on Deaf Culture, cochlear implants or education for deaf children, this film will shine a light on debates that have never been told before in a film.

In the news

Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/arlington-heights/community/chi-ugc-article-naperville-film-director-launches-kickstarter-2015-07-27-story.html

iOn the Scene
Creative Cow
Newswire

Note from the director

Bringing this story to a large audience has always been my goal. My hope is that it will not only bring awareness to the Deaf Community, but also open some eyes and ears on both sides of the cochlear implant debate, which has become something of a cultural divide.

Now that we're in post-production, your support is greatly needed - and appreciated - in order to bring this story out to the world!

  • What Your Support Will Go Towards

We've begun the editing stage on the film, and we need your help in order to complete the editing, have it professionally scored (it's a film about sound, after all!), be reviewed by a legal team to clear archival footage, shoot additional reenactment scenes to enhance the film, provide professional subtitles, color correct and mix sound, finishing the film on Blu-ray and DVD and sent out for it's official debut!

As a contributor you make a difference. Please share this unique, untold story of Deaf Culture and a new perspective of the world we often take for granted!

A sincere thank you, Saj Adibs, and the LTW Team

7 years in the making!
7 years in the making!

Here is a video ABC made back in 2009, a year after I start filming this documentary. Obviously, the journey took much longer than I thought back then and this was before I met Rachel and Leah Coleman, but this will give you another perspective on the story.

Risks and challenges

This documentary is very personal to me and I’ve become very sensitive to the Deaf Culture. It has been a long journey to get here. In the last seven years, I never lost my motivation to complete this film - and now we are almost at the finish line!

The good news is that the film has been fully shot and the editing process has already begun. We have a very talented composer who signed on the project last month, a brilliant editor who has been working non-stop, and we have all the other technical elements in place.

With your support, this film will be completed in the next two months, in time for our Sundance submission in late August. You can help us overcome all obstacles in getting this much-needed film into the world.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    Our sincere gratitude and a thank you mention on our social media platforms. You are now a part of the team and will have exclusive backer updates throughout our production.

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    Your name added to our website's list of supporters and a thank you message on our social media platform for helping us bring this story to the masses.

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    A limited edition DVD of the film before it is released anywhere else. You'll be the first to view this film before any of your friends see it in the theater + Your name added to our website's list of supporters and a thank you message on our social media platform.

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    You get a limited edition Blu-ray of the film in HD quality plus digital download, early bird special + Your name added to our website's list of supporters and a thank you message on our social media platform.

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    Limited edition Blu-ray and digital download plus 3+hours of unedited footage of the medical process for the cochlear implant on DVD + Your name added to our website's list of supporters and a thank you message on our social media platform.

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    Blu-ray (or DVD) and digital download PLUS you will receive personal thanks in the film credits.

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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    A signed copy of the Blu-ray by the director + Digital download + A hand-written post card by the filmmaker with a special note + SPECIAL TRIBUTE, Honor someone you know from the Deaf Community that has made a difference in your life. We will post a Photo with your Quote that will live on our website, shared on our social media and remembered in ALL of our hearts. This is a great gift to honor someone you care about, and we want to know them.
    You will also get a sneak preview of the first 18 minutes of the film in August.

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    All of the above + a special one a kind DVD or Blu-ray with a custom thank you insert to honor someone you know in the Deaf Community that has made a difference in your life.

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    30 minute Skype video call with Rachel & Leah Coleman + Special edition Blu-ray or DVD + Digital download + Supporting thank you film credit in the finished film.

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    This reward includes 2 tickets to Chicago red-carpet, private screening, reception, and Q&A with filmmaker and some of the stars. + Special edition Blu-ray and digital download of the film. Screening is tentatively scheduled for November 2015. Your travel and accommodations are not included.

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    Associate Producer
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    Executive Producer
    All of the above + IMDB credit + Film credit as executive producer. We will have a phone conversation to share our gratitude, talk about the filmmaking process and answer any questions.

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Funding period

- (30 days)