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ろう・難聴 × LGBT の子どもたちに、500人のエールを届けたい!

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ろう・難聴 × LGBT の子どもたちに、500人のエールを届けたい!
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2017年08月16日 10:27

English Page

 

「Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing」+ [LGBT] DVD Making

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this page. I am Ayako Imamura, a documentary filmmaker. I was born deaf, and because of that, I wasn’t able to enjoy watching TV with my family when I was young. But one day, my father rented a foreign movie video with subtitles, and I was then able to really enjoy watching a movie with my family for the first time. That first movie was E.T. I was so impressed by this story of the friendship between E.T. and the young boy that I started to have a dream that, when I grew up, I would make movies that would give people energy and courage. And, when I was 19, I went to America to study filmmaking.

 From the time I was 20 years old, I have continued to make documentary films about deaf and hard-of-hearing people at their schools, their workplaces, and with their families, because I wanted hearing people to know more about deaf people. This year is my 18th year of making these kinds of documentary films, and so far I have made 27 films, and they have been shown all around Japan.

 

My film from last year, that many of you supported, [Start Line], has been well received overseas.

Now I am in the process of making [To 11 Year Old You – Various Kinds Love],
a film about deaf and hard-of-hearing LGBT people in Japan.

 

 

That is because last fall, one of my friends came out to me about being gay, and this was the inspiration for my starting to think about making something about [Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing] + [LGBT].

 

Last fall, this friend said to me that he “had something to talk about”, and when we were sitting in a café eating, he said that he was gay. I was moved because he had confided in me but hadn’t “come out” to his parents or coworkers. He was active as a sign language interpreter, and said that there were many LGBT people among deaf and hard-of-hearing. This is how I began to think about a film about deaf and hard-of-hearing LGBT people.

I then decided to start the GO-GO (meaning 5-5 in Japanese) campaign, with the goal of one-500-yen-coin contributions from 500 or more people, with the objective of trying to make a film to inform as many people as possible about the multiplicity and diversity of SELF and GENDER, and the different forms that love can take.

 

 

 

Different from people in wheelchairs and those with white canes, deaf people don’t look any different than anyone else. LGBT people also don’t look any different. Deaf LGBT people, even though they have many problems to try to solve, have trouble getting good advice because there are very few people who have knowledge and understanding about Deaf/LGBT problems.

And, even though they might want to participate in the LGBT community, there are many barriers to this participation. One possible solution is ask for a JSL interpreter, but then the interpreter would know the person is LGBT, so if that person is not ready to ‘come out’ to the interpreter, s/he just ends up suffering alone.

 

 

Getting People to Know More about Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing LGBT People

 

When I was doing research about ways to get people to know more about deaf and hard-of-hearing LGBT people and LGBT in general, I recalled my own elementary school days. When I was in elementary school I hated the fact that my breasts were getting bigger, I was embarrassed to be a girl, and wanted to be a boy. And I didn’t want to cook because “cooking is for girls.” And I hated the color pink.

 

Thinking about it now, I realize that when I had these feelings, I hated society’s image of what a woman should be, and society’s idea of femininity. I always asked myself the question “why?”. At that young age I didn’t have the words to express these feelings, so I just kept these feelings to myself, and ended up hating my own gender.

 

Me in Elementary School

 

If, instead of trying to make people act ‘like a boy’ or ‘like a girl’, society had placed more emphasis on being ‘like myself’ or ‘like yourself’, I wouldn’t have ended up hating my own gender, and would have been able to accept myself as I was.

When I was a university student, I was able to accept myself and my gender, and even began to like cooking and the color pink. And after graduating, regardless of gender, I sometimes saw someone I liked and wanted to be with, and I felt something like love for them, not just for males, but for females as well.

 

The people in the DVD are Touma (on the right) and her partner Yukari (on the left), and when Yuakari said,“I just happened to meet Touma and fall in love with her”, I knew exactly what she meant.

 

 

In this wide, wide world, to meet someone you can love is really something wonderful.

 

Getting to know and love someone is also getting to know yourself. In this DVD I want ask the question, “Is it really alright for society to label something as strange just because it doesn’t fit into a certain category?”And I also want to convey the idea that being able to find someone you can love in this wide, wide world is really something wonderful and irreplaceable.

 

Loving someone, or categorizing yourself, is a way obliterating your unknown self, your yet-to-be-known self, your multi-selves. I want to convey the idea that your true self and the real world are richly abundant, interesting and wonderful.

 

Two other people in the DVD are Ms Ren Kikukawa (on the right) and Monkey Takano (on the left).

 

 

One step from each of 500 people, will make the world a much better place.

 

If people around us have some knowledge and information about the expressions [LGBT] or [not able to hear], then it can lighten the feelings of those people with those conditions. There are LGBT children in the deaf/hard-of-hearing population. Like me, when I was in elementary school, there are many children who can’t trust society and adults. Through this new project, I hope to gather 500 people who will support me, and would like to be able to tell these children that there are at least 500 adults who they can trust.

 

If you think things like,“I have the same feeling”or“I want to offer support”or “I want to help”, then by all means contribute one (500 yen) coin and send a message. Just one contribution per person, but for those who want to contribute more, tell your friends about this project, and I would be happy if you would share this information on SNS.

 

More than the amount of money, I think that getting a large amount of people involved will be a bigger hurdle. Rather than one person taking 500 steps to change society, it is more important for 500 people to take one step. I think that doing something to get as many people as possible to “understand”will help to make society a better place for children, deaf/hard-of-hearing, and LGBT to live. Let’s all work together in this GO-GO (5-5) project to make a better world.

I am very grateful to all of you who decide to participate.

 

 

After making your contribution, please also fill in the [supporting message] section.

1.What did someone say to you when you were down that made you feel better?, or What message would you like to send to yourself when you were younger?

2.Name?

3.Where are you from?

After I receive your message, I will post it on the homepage.

 

 

Schedule for the DVD [To 11 Year Old You – Various Kinds of Love]

 

2017 Schedule

February: Planning and research

March:    Finding, interviewing and selecting the people to appear in the film

April:    Interviewing people to appear and filming

May:      Filming

June;     Filming

July:     Filming, editing

August:   Editing and filming recreated life-episodes

September: Filming recreated life-episodes and editing

October:  Sound editing and pressing the DVD

November: DVD goes on sale!

 

 

Summary of the DVD [To 11 Year Old You – Various Kinds of Love]

 

The Structure

There are two parts. The first part is made up of filming from five deaf lesbian, gay, transsexual people’s school life, family life and workplace life. So the content will be easy to understand even for elementary school children, there will be interviews and recreated life episodes. In the second part we will use sign language to learn about LGBT people. The narrator for this part is Mr. Maeda, a teacher at a school for the deaf.

 

  • DVD [To 11 Year Old You – Various Kinds of Love]

[Part 1] The People Interviewed:

・Akira Kanoh

・Ren Kikukawa 

・Kairi Tsuji 

・Touma Tsuji 

・Etsuko Yamazaki

 

[Part 2]  Let’s Learn More – About LGBT

Mr.Maeda Explains in Sign Language

・4 Genders

・LGBT Sign Language

・Coming Out

・Outing

 

Director/Editing: Ayako Imamura

Supervision:      Takashi Kazama (Professor, Chukyo University)

Production:       Studio AYA

 

  • Intended Viewers

Deaf/hard-of-hearing students and teachers, guardians, deaf/hard-of-hearing adults, those involved with deaf people and sign language, those involved with LGBT people.

 

  • How to View

The DVD will be available from the Studio AYA site for 3,000 yen.

 

 

How contributions will be used

 

Cost of travel to filming sites, lodging at sites, travel costs for sign language interpreters, editing costs, design costs, DVD pressing, homepage construction fees, advertisement costs. The total cost amounting to around 2,000,000 yen, with about 250,000 yen for the DVD.

 

 

About Ayako Imamura’s production activities and her main films

 

Her first full-length film, shown in theaters all over Japan, was [Coffee and a Pencil](2011), a heart-warming documentary about a deaf man who ran a surfboard shop and how he communicated with his customers. [Bridge, 3,11 Without Sound](2013) took two years and four months to complete, and was about the struggle of deaf people after the Great Northeast Japan Earthquake Disaster, and was not only shown throughout Japan but was also shown at film festival both in Japan and overseas.

Her newest film is [Start Line] (2016) which has the theme of her own poor communication skills, and is a documentary film that depicts Ayako Imamura’s struggles with communication as she makes a bicycle journey the length of Japan, from Okinawa in the south, to Hokkaido in the north. Not only was this film shown at theaters throughout Japan, but also shown at film festivals throughout Korea, and at the Germany/Japan Connection film festival in Germany, and in Germany won the “Viewer Favorite Award”.

 

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