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Hilari Scarl - (See What I'm Saying) Bridge Street Interview

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(woman) What a thrill to have Hilari Scarl in the studio with us today. You are the producer and director of a documentary called "See What I'm Saying". And you follow four performers who are hearing impaired, I guess through the challenges of trying to succeed, um, in a world where we all hear very well. (Hilari) Actually, it's four entertainers who who happen to be deaf, and it's really focusing on their talent, and their artistry, and their lives, to really get to know them, and be involved in who they are and in their lives. (man) And this motion picture is out now. Before we talk about it's genesis, and development, it's also the first ever, open captioned big screen release in America? (Hilari) It's the first open-captioned commercial film in American history, which means it's accessible to 30 million deaf and hard of hearing viewers, ever single time it is screened. (woman) And what caused you to, I guess, to pursue this kind of documentary? (Hilari) Well, I toured with the National Theater of the Deaf in 1996, I know there's a lot of deaf viewers this morning so I wanted to sign a little bit, and say thank you for everyone and all the support and, to be able to really see the full talent in the deaf community, and see their amazing skills, that were not being really recognized, out in the mainstream community. (man) And you've chosen four, I'd like you to set up a clip we are going to watch, one of them is a comic, who I guess is a real hoot... (Hilari) CJ Jones! (man) Tell us about what we are going to look at. (Hilari) CJ Jones is an icon in the deaf community, and his story line is that he is internationally famous, he's been touring, ah, for 30 years, but virtually unknown in the mainstream hearing community, so you're going to see a little bit of CJ's performance, and he'll also be here live tomorrow. at the Palace Theater here in Syracuse. (woman) All right, great. (man) We'll take a look at that clip now. (Hilari) Thank you. [captions from clip are displayed] (man) Fix the spotlight. Well you've... (woman) That's a really interesting way of putting it [laughs] (man) You have put the spotlight on all of these performers - can you give us a little sense of the production that it required, the special...the hours of shooting it must taken. [laughs] Three hundred hours of shooting for almost a year of production, and then 2 years in the editing room for post-production, so altogether it was a 3 year production process, that now is actually just starting our journey, as we launch into a screening of the film around the country and it looks like we will be expanding internationally as well. (woman) How did you select the subjects for the movie? I actually toured with Robert, in 1996, with the National Theater of the Deaf, Robert DeMayo was the lead actor in our production of "An Italian Straw Hat", and he blew me away. He is probably one of the most talented actors I'd ever known or worked with in my entire career, and after I moved to Los Angeles, shortly after, wondering why they weren't getting the exposure out there in, you know, mainstream media. And so to say that it's because of misconceptions in the hearing world, that they look at them as deaf actors, and not actors who happen to be deaf. (man) So we've got an actor, a comic and a couple others - a drummer... (Hilari) A singer, and a drummer, exactly. So the deaf community is small, and everybody knows each other, and when I was looking for subjects in 2007, I was looking for entertainers with events that I could follow and could document, and these were the ones, the four that I could follow. Unfortunately there's not a lot of work right now for deaf actors, so some of the most talented actors out there, you'll see them all in the closing credits, we have a montage of over 50 deaf entertainers. (man) Wow. (woman) Can you tell us a little bit about the challenges that these entertainers come up against throughout the process of the documentary? (Hilari) The challenges you see in the film, is the misconceptions they have in the hearing world. It's not their deafness that is actually a challenge. The challenge is showing that they are talented, that their performances are fully accessible, and showing that it's just, um, any other minorty culture, except that they express themselves in a different language, so, which is sign language, and that has been the toughest challenge for them. And when you see them in the film, most of the time the hearing people will say, I had no idea, I had no idea this culture walks among us, invisible, and that they are so talented, and a lot of these actors now starting to get some bookings. (man) Excellent. (Hilari) and starting to get some work because of the film which is the whole goal. (woman) So that 's the hearing world's reaction to the documentary, but what about the deaf community? How are they responding to this? I am assuming very well. [laughs] (Hilari) The deaf community has embraced this film. I am very, very grateful that they have come and embraced this, including the reason I am here in Syracuse this weekend, actually, the Deaf Advocacy Council brought me here, and sponsored the event. It's a not-for-profit organization. Deaf West is behind me in Los Angeles, I had the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness as a community partner, also in Los Angeles, and nationwide, we had screenings at Galludet University in Washington DC, and so I'm really truly honored and humbled that the deaf community has come out to support the film, and these entertainers... (man) Well, we're just... (Hilari)...and give them the recognition they deserve. (man) Well, we are just meeting her now, but this woman has quite a track record herself. Twelve thousand direectors...Steven Spielberg picked you out of a large group, to come to his "On the Lot". Tell us a little bit about that experience. (Hilari) It was a defining moment in my career. I had, up to then, I have a theater background, and produced 12 short films, that I wrote and directed, one of which was submitted to Stephen Spielberg's television show, "On the Lot", and...I was nervous, and yet excited the entire time to be on the show, and be able to show my work, and say, "I'm a storyteller", and this is my opportunity to tell my stories and I made it to the top 16 on the show, which was a great, great honor, and so when, after the production, they said "What's next for you?", and I said I want to produce "See What I'm Saying", a documentary about deaf entertainers, and open the door to do this in the future. (man) And you raised a little money with that, didn't you? (Hilari) I did! I went out into the community and said, if you were going to vote for me 20 times, send me $20 instead, and that enabled me to begin production. (man) Well, I'll tell you what, if she mentioned the Syracuse reason for her being here today and this weekend, the event is at the Palace Theater in the heart of Eastwood on James street. They're a great movie house. "See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainer's Documentary" it's tomorrow night, 7:00pm, plenty of seats, but don't wait, get there early. If I'm you, I would go, because this is really one of the premiere screenings of this motion picture. Right? (Hilari) We are here on our East Coast premiere trip, so we are at the Village East Cinema in New York City, and I came up for the weekend to be here in Syracuse, but we are opening nationwide, and you see all our screenings at (man) Log on. (Hilari) Thank-you-thank-you-thank-you thank-you for all your support and I'll see you this weekend, at "See What I'm Saying". (woman) Thank you Hilari. (Hilari) Thank you. (man) Thank you, Hilari. We appreciate it. Congratulations on the project, we'll be happy to see it, and you know we're come up with something very special next, 'cause I'm here, and we are going to test my musical knowledge. (woman) You are so special in so many ways. (man) Limit it to the 70's, keep it top 10, I'm there. Next. (woman) That's what we'll do.

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 3 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Trailer
Views: 537
Posted by: ccwebguy on Apr 19, 2010

Captioned version of "Hilari Scarl - (See What I'm Saying) Bridge Street Interview"

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