Preservation of Sign Language

July 21, 2011

Deaf people are facing not a theory but a condition, for they are first, last, and all the time the people of the eye.” – Veditz, 1910

Here’s an interesting observation made about the Deaf Rochester Film Festival 2011 by PDurr, a professor, advocate, playwright, artist, filmmaker, friend, partner, and mom.

Deaf Rochester Film Festival

In part, she writes-

‘It was grand because FILM is da medium for Deaf folks.  No no no question about it.  it is as Veditz said:

“We possess and jealously guard a language different and apart from any other in common use – a language which nevertheless is precisely what all-wise Mother Nature designed for the people of the eye, a language with no fixed form or literature in the past, but which we are now striving to fix and give a distinct liter…ature of its own by means of the moving picture film.” George Veditz 1910

Soo it was no surprise when Veditz was the most special featured guest at the fest.

Yep – his “Preservation of Sign Language” [click to watch] classic film was featured and highlighted and celebrated at DRFF 2011….

It is interesting to note that …‘The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) film “Preservation of Sign Language” by George W. Veditz was selected to the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress along with other films such as “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, “All the President’s Men”, “Malcolm X”, and “Saturday Night Fever”.

“Preservation of Sign Language” was part of a collection of films produced by the motion picture committee of the NAD specifically to preserve early American Sign Language on film from 1910 through 1920. The NAD at that time was concerned that “pure” sign language might disappear under the pressures of oralism, and made these films so that future generations might see master signers of the past. In 1965, the NAD transferred these films to the Gallaudet University Archives for preservation and to make them more available to the public. [For more, please click historic-nad-film-selected-preservation-library-congress]

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