See For Yourself is an exciting new short film designed to be accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences alike. It’s a psychological thriller about a Deaf teenager whose decision to give up speaking creates a rift between her and her hearing family which threatens to swallow them all.
The film aims to deliver the bittersweet reminder that our feelings and identity are valid – regardless of whether they are heard or not. The film is currently in development with a team of experienced third year students from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) as part of their major final-year work. It will be directed by Kyle William McDonnell and produced by Oliver Ellis.
Two actresses are being sought for See For Yourself. The characters are named Joy and Abbigail. They are both female between 16 and 25 years.
Joy is an unruly Deaf teenager who, fed up with her hearing parents not listening to her, vows never to speak aloud again. Her newfound identity, and growing anxiety surrounding her cochlear implant, only further isolate her from her hearing family. It puts greater strain on her sister Abbigail who is the only other person in her life who is an Auslan user. Joy is suffocated, and her own fears of not being accepted or heard by those closest to her have given rise to a burning hatred for the world. Can she keep a grip on this violence building within her before it is too late?
Please note: this role of Joy is reserved for a Deaf or hard of hearing actress who is proficient in Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
Abbigail is an extroverted, quietly-depressed teenager who feels shoved into the role of translator between her hearing parents and Deaf sister Joy. Her isolation has given rise to a deeply buried jealousy of Joy and the attention she gets. There is also the possibility that Abbigail puts more energy into listening to Joy than the other way around. Can Abbigail find a way to express herself before her relationship with her sister falls apart?
Please note: language requirements for the role of Abbigail are Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and English.
Where and when is filming of See For Yourself?
Filming will take place in Sydney for a maximum of three days between 3 and 16 October.
Will actors be paid?
The roles are unpaid. However, all meals and expenses will be covered so the actresses won’t be out of pocket. Other cast and crew will also be unpaid.
How do I express interest?
To apply for either or both of the roles, please email email@example.com.
You may also apply through the StarNow platform.
About the Producer and Director
Over the past three years, Kyle and Oliver (and their production team) have built a unique creative partnership. As members of the LGBTQIA+ community, they share a passion for telling stories which allow the audience to step into the shoes of unique and underrepresented perspectives. In doing so, they challenge what it really means to be Australian.
Their portfolio of work includes a range of fiction and documentary content. Some of their most notable works include CODA, a documentary detailing the story of performance artist Jodee Mundy, the only hearing child in a Deaf family. Most recently, they produced Farewell Happy Fields, a reflective documentary following Kyle himself – while recovering from depression – challenging award-winning author Fiona Wright to express her experience with anorexia by performing one of her poems.
Goal of the project
See for Yourself is the product of months of research and valued collaboration with members of the Deaf community, both behind and in front of the camera. The team hopes that by sharing their insights, talents and lived experiences, they can create a unique and authentic thriller where true horror doesn’t come from any supernatural monster, but instead from the way in which we treat our most forgotten citizens. This story is waiting to be told, and audiences are ready to listen.
A note from Accessible Arts: We recommend that you, your trusted supporters, agent or guardian carefully review any contract regarding participation in any project. You might want to consult the information sheets on The Arts Law Centre of Australia website and the unpaid work page on the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
Image credit: Rachel Mackey
This page was first published on 5 September 2018. It was edited on 7 September to correct the email address.