In the heyday of silent films, deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences flocked to movie houses and nickelodeons. Some Chicago film
buffs are working hard to bring audiences back to theatres.
With the advent of "talkies," movies became less visual and more reliant on sound. When Joshua Flanders started the
Festival for Cinema of the Deaf in 2002, he hoped to change all that, returning visual storytelling to movies and once again making film accessible to deaf
At the festival, some movies focus on deaf protagonists. Other films rely on different ways of communicating their ideas and
plots. Deaf audiences get to enjoy the big screen experience when big-budget movies are screened with subtitles. And for deaf
children excited about these widened horizons, there are workshops where they learn how to make their own movies.
Check out some of the other film festivals that happen in Illinois every year: the
International Children's Film Festival and the
Latino Film Festival, both taking place in Chicago, the
Big Muddy Film Fest in Carbondale and the
Beyond Normal Film Fest in the city of Normal.
Visit with Oscar-winner
Marlee Matlin, one of the most visible hearing-impaired actresses working today, who hails from Morton Grove and got her theatrical start
on Chicago stages.
Explore the ways other artists with disabilities continue to be creative at the
Chicago Festival of Disability Arts and Culture.
Travel back to the era before "talkies" hit the screen at
Silent Era a site dedicated to silent films.