Young Deaffest Ambassador Alex Nowak has been a role model to young deaf people over the past 2 years, inspiring them with his busy life as a deaf actor. Meanwhile, Alex himself was getting inspired – by Deaffest. After doing voluntary work in a deaf school in Sri Lanka, Alex had the idea to set up a deaf film festival similar to Deaffest in Sri Lanka – the first one ever! Months of organising and hard work finally paid off as the first Matara Deaf Film and Arts Festival took place on Sunday 25th May, and was a huge success. Here Alex describes the magical event…
“Matara Deaf Film and Arts Festival 2014 took place on Sunday 25th May 2014 and was a huge accomplishment!
Sunday morning was chaotic getting the venue ready to perfection. The stage arrived, the screen arrived, the projector arrived, the dancers arrived, and before we knew it, the audience had arrived. Me and Kasun Jayathunga (president of Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf) were up to our heads getting it all equipped and organised. Deaffest, how you do it, I do not know!
It’s 10:30am, loads of deafies are behind me signing and the lights go off, the adrenaline is pumping – I nudge Kasun that we have to go on the stage to start the festival. We have the audience in hysterics at our introduction video. After a slight technical issue, the films have now started and the deafies are constantly staring at the screen.
International deaf films were shown, including some of our British films: Confession, You Me and The End – it took them a while to understand the storyline in ‘The End’ – when the credits rolled, they all got into little groups to discuss what they thought of it. The Indian film, Barfi, went down such a treat with the viewers. There was a group of deaf dancers showing off their talent in between the films. In all, it was such an eye-opening event for the Sri Lankan deaf community.
I feel extremely proud that a small idea I exchanged via Facebook private message with Kasun became Sri Lanka’s first deaf film festival. The event was attended by over 110 people. Whilst watching the movies, the audience got a positive feeling and wanted more – hopefully there will be another event like this in the near future… Watch this space!
I would like to thank the following for making this event happen: Sumaga Ruhunu Circle of the Deaf, The Voice That Makes a Difference, Kalum Samarawickrama, Ahanna, Rajitha Viduransi, Hemalie Hotel, and of course, Deaffest!”