Monday, January 16, 2012

"Aichi director records the deaf's stories"

Photo borrowed from Yomiuri Online.

From the Daily Yomiuri Online, 1/14/12:

Deaf director Ayako Imamura's filmography boasts movies about the lives of deaf and hearing-impaired people.

Imamura, 32, recently shot a documentary titled "Coffee and Pencil," whose main character is a deaf man who runs a surf shop.

The man offers customers coffee with a smile, shows them paper and a pencil, and starts communicating with them using gestures and writing.

"Did you surf today?" he writes.

Customers, puzzled at first, are soon drawn into a conversation with him.

"Even if we don't talk and people don't know sign language, we can enjoy conversations. I wanted everyone to know this," Imamura said.

The movie became the talk of Aichi Prefecture, her filming home base, and other areas. In March, the movie will be screened at a theater in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

When she was a primary school student, Imamura felt quite lonely as she was not able to join conversations with her friends due to her hearing problem.

In those days, her father rented the movie "E.T." and Imamura was deeply moved by the movie's captioning.

Aspiring to be a director, she studied filmmaking in the United States at a university that provides lectures in sign language.

The consistent theme of her films is the lives of the deaf--such as their working environment at offices and the support provided to students with hearing problems.

Lately, she has been doing research in areas hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

"[In the disaster] many people were anxious as they were unable to obtain information because of their hearing problems. I'd like to convey their situation [in my films]," she said.



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