SYNOPSIS OF THE AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE SHORT FILM, "BEYOND ESSAYS"
A college writing professor, Genevive, frantically tries to finish her dissertation before the deadline tonight. When a disgruntled student, Wanda, unhappy with her grade refuses to leave her office, Genevive is forced to cross boundaries with the student in order to finish on time.
BUDGET OF THE FILM (2-DAY PRODUCTION & 3 WEEK POST-PRODUCTION):
Items to create & design the office & classroom (i.e., books, papers, pencils, trash cans...) - $200
Food & drinks to feed the Actresses & Crew of 15 people for a 2-day shoot (12-hour work-days) - $200
Wardrobe for the Actresses - $50
Makeup & Hair for the Actresses - $150
Creating a great sound design for "Beyond Essays" in Post Production - $200
Camera & Lights to create a great look for the film - $550
Extra little expenses (papers, printing, photos, office for production) - $100
Photographer for documenting this important shooting event - $100
For letting us use the locations to shoot on - $200
Everyone else is volunteering their services & equipment for free to contribute to this important film. With your help, we will be able to get all of these things!
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/...
INTRODUCTION BY JULES DAMERON, DIRECTOR & WRITER
Gallaudet University was the main source of inspiration for this short film. I was an undergraduate student there for four years, and anyone who’s been there knows this: Gallaudet University is a unique campus that is almost utopian in it’s own way-- for the deaf community. It supports the deaf community in many ways that people don’t realize. For instance, the role model of all the professors there. Half of the teaching department is deaf or hard of hearing, and the entire teaching department uses American Sign Language to teach their students. Anyone who’s studied deaf history also knows this: this place was the first place to encourage deaf people to start obtaining doctorate degrees after 1988, the week of the Gallaudet revolution, when they wanted a deaf president to represent their university.
Now, in addition to this, since the deaf community is known for coming in flocks, that says one thing: they often stick together, and live with each other, even if they may not like each other. They share the same language and culture, and they recognize their needs for people who share that language and culture. And, that, in itself can also cause unique relationships between people who are taught to not cross a certain line initially, but have to break it, because of their need to share their language and culture.
For instance, professors and students. It’s been known in the past time and time again that deaf professors and deaf students have crossed the line, and became friends, or got married, or had the kind of relationship that is usually considered forbidden or taboo in our society. Deaf people have to resort to ignoring the taboos and unspoken societal codes in order to get what they simply want: to share with others who are just like them.
Another point I must bring up here that makes this project even more unique: the approach used for the dialogue in this film is very uncommon in the Hollywood system, or even the theatre, arts, and home movies. Let me back up a little bit. Here’s what I see is the problem. I, myself, a deaf individual, am very fluent in American Sign Language. So one would think: if there was a film in ASL, I would be able to enjoy it just like a hearing person would enjoy hearing their language spoken on their film. That’s not quite the case for me. Simply because of the common approach they used with American Sign Language. The script is always originally written in English (just like how hearing people would speak it) and then is translated into ASL. Because of that, the original spirit of ASL is lost.
There’s much that’s difficult to explain, but essentially, the natural feel of ASL is not there because of the original script in English. So because of this approach, I am unable to have ever seen an ASL scene that’s loyal and true to the authenticity of the deaf characters, and for me to actually relax, enjoy and feel the characters for once.
In “Beyond Essays” I have chosen to “write” in ASL originally, have the actors get the signs directly from me, and make it work with their characters, just like the privilege of any hearing actor with their English dialogue. Because of this approach, I am not forcing my actors to translate the written English into ASL. They are able to add layers to their lines just like anyone else would. I hope to see a positive artistic outcome from all this.
- Jules Dameron, Director
DIRECTOR & WRITER - Jules Dameron
Jules is a filmmaker with a Master's degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California. She's also an avid supporter of all who are frequent users of American Sign Language. Hailing from Minnesota, she extends a friendly demeanor towards all she works with. Jules pursues her abiding love for directing films, having directed a large number of short films. She has additionally directed a few short plays for Deaf West Theatre. Jules is the CEO of her film production company, Damname Productions. She resides with her husband and three cats in North Hollywood.
PRODUCER - Bridgette Wright
With over 10 years of production experience spanning all film and television genres both in front and behind the camera, Bridgette Wright brings an unparalleled dynamic and know-how to the film industry. Beginning as a production assistant to Damon Lee of Deacon Entertainment (Obsessed, Undercover Brother), Bridgette has steadily gained a vast knowledge base from working on a diverse array of music videos, short films, features and commercials as well as working for The Walt Disney Company and LML Music, Inc. Most recently, Bridgette signed on as Producer for two feature films, WHEN AUTUMN LEAVES with 2 Twenty 2 Productions and CASTING KRISTIN with Scratched Film Productions. In August 2009, Bridgette shot the ESPERANZA PRODUCTIONS’ short film APPLES starring Bobby Cannavale as the 2nd Assistant Director and is currently 2nd Assistant Director for the web series Funemployment.
In December of 2009, Bridgette launched her own production company S6XTH HOUSE ENTERTAINMENT, LLC and has begun work on her own projects. Bridgette attends UCLA’s Extension Program for Producing.
AMBER ZION (AS GENEVIVE TAYLOR) was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is an only child. She developed a strong passion for acting at age of 5 and has been involved in many school plays. An accomplished stage actor, Amber has appeared in numerous productions at NTID's (National Technical Institute for the Deaf) Panara Theater. Her professional debut was Shakespeare's "The Tempest" off Broadway at the Interborough Repertory Theatre in New York City in the summer of 2000.
She is currently filming a feature: "One By One: Death's Door", directed by Kimberly Seihamer. Her other professional film works include the Mosdeux Productions: "Till Domestic Violence Do Us Part 1 & 2", "Vital Signs" and "Resonare."
Amber recently made her debut in national commercials. She worked on the Kay Jeweler's Christmas 2008 campaign. She also had a guest starring role on CBS's CSI:NY in the episode "Silent Night" on network television in 2006.
Amber is certified by NTID in performing arts and has attended Deaf West Professional Summer School. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology.
KALEN FEENEY (AS WANDA MACY) trained with the American Conservatory Theatre and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She toured with National Theatre of the Deaf and appeared on Cold Case and Strong Medicine. Feeney was a Project: Involve Fellow, under Film Independent, and has written, produced, and acted in several short films.
- (50 days)