See What I’m Saying Showcases Deaf Entertainers
So you want to be a rock ‘n roll star? Do you have what it takes? Do you know what it takes? What if you have talent, looks, personality, a great sound…but you’re deaf? Then there’s more to it than getting an electric guitar and learning how to play.
Four well known deaf performers (Robert DeMayo, actor; TL Forsberg, singer; Bob Hiltermann, drummer (Beethoven's Nightmare); and CJ Jones, comic) know what it takes, and they’ve got it, but getting the breaks so necessary to “making it” isn’t easy when you’re the outsider in a hearing world. Producer/director Hilari Scarl profiles the four in her film See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary.
Cameras follow the four in their individual and collaborative efforts, their successes and disappointments, over the course of a year. CJ Jones performs for three days to a near-empty auditorium in North Carolina; TL Forsberg earned the opportunity to cut a professional CD, but it doesn’t work out. Robert DeMayo describes the problems of communicating (and miscommunicating)—problems he encountered in the world and at home. Bob Hiltermann wants rock one more time before he dies.
Released on DVD and digitally, February 22, See What I’m Saying is the first “open-captioned commercial film in American history.” It examines the wall that separates the hearing-impaired from the hearing. It also chronicles the successes the four performers achieve working together to produce a performing arts festival and a rock concert.
See What I’m Saying is personal and intimate--visiting the performers in their homes, recording their disappointments, and celebrating their successes. Two groups of people should see it, the hearing impaired, and those who aren’t—the first because it is encouraging and inspirational without being false or saccharine, the second to gain insight into a culture that may be alien to them.
See What I’m Saying was released on DVD by Docurama Films; “Docurama” is to documentaries what “Pixar” is to animation. The documentaries are so well made that viewers find themselves drawn into stories in which they thought they had no interest, and enjoying them. They humanize their subjects—when their subjects are human--and chip away at the barriers between us. See What I’m Saying is a prime example of a documentary “done right.”
DVD bonus features include additional performances, deleted scenes, bloopers, and extended interviews.