SILENT ODYSSEY—A journey into the Deaf world—brings out the Filipino Deaf’s sentiments towards the hearing society, chronicles the significant and pioneering efforts of different institutions and personages in Philippine Deaf history and touches on important and current issues on Deaf education. It introduces the word “audism” (Deaf discrimination)—a not-yet-so-popularly used term in the Filipino Deaf community; takes a glimpse at the 15th World Federation of the Deaf 2007 Congress in Spain with the theme “Human Rights Through Sign Language” and the Celebration of the Entry into Force in the Philippines of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).
(Production stills and behind the scene shots from “Silent Odyssey”)
The film also focuses on some of Deaf achievers who are worthy of emulation by the Filipino Deaf youth and presents the World Federation of Deaf President Markku Jokinen’s views on oralism, use of hearing aids and importance of sign language to the Deaf. Most importantly, the film takes a close look at the Filipino Sign Language (FSL)—its probable origin, uniqueness, present status vis-à-vis other sign systems and its importance as index to the cultural identity of the Filipino Deaf as a cultural-linguistic minority group.
SILENT ODYSSEY documents the journey of filmmaker Miranamedina with Deaf people by bringing to the hearing society the sentiments, history, language and culture of the Filipino Deaf. With the persistence of negative stigma regarding Persons With Disabilities (PWD) and the myth that the Deaf are dumb, the call for an advocacy film for Deaf people becomes more urgent especially now that the Philippines ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities on April 15, 2008.
The journey leads to a realization that the Deaf are disabled and impaired by society’s failure to understand and accept their language and culture as an ethnic group, disregarding their cultural needs as Deaf persons by not providing the bridge of communication which aggravates their linguistic isolation. That “Deaf can” is no illusion but a reality which can shame those who think of themselves as superior just because they can hear.
SILENT ODYSSEY features nearly 50 members of the Filipino Deaf community, educators, missionaries and service providers to the Deaf with the special participation of Markku Jokinen, World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) President.
A production of Miryad Visyon in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Lingap-Pangarap Foundation, Inc.