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May 16, 2007

Deaf actor signs in for film award

From: Waikato Times, New Zealand - May 16, 2007

By KELLY GREGOR - Waikato Times

Brent MacPherson of Hamilton has won a best actor award for his film The Hammer at the third annual New Zealand Deaf Film Festival.

Fifteen New Zealand films were entered in the festival, which aims to raise awareness about sign language and hearing disabilities.

The Hammer, a story about a man accused of murder, is filmed and set in Hamilton and co-written with his wife Janine, who is also deaf.

Speaking to the Waikato Times through an interpreter, Mr MacPherson, who co-founded the festival two years ago, said all the films were signed, directed, produced, acted and edited by deaf people, and included subtitles.

All 15 films, which run for about seven minutes, were judged by a panel of three judges in Auckland last weekend. They were due to be shown in Hamilton today.

Mr MacPherson said sign language had its own unique humour, which was reflected in the films.

"Sign humour is visual opposed to humour built on words or puns.

"You can't separate language and culture, but it has its own beliefs and morals."

Mr MacPherson said the festival wanted to encourage deaf people into the arts.

The festival needed more funding to make the films more accessible to a wider audience, and to increase the profile of sign language, he said.

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© 2007 Waikato Times