Telling Deaf Stories

The Village is a film created in collaboration with residents and staff of the Kelston Deaf Education Centre, members of the Auckland Deaf community, film maker Hank Snell, writer James Littlewood, and local artist Amy Blinkhorne. It tells the story of a young woman arriving at the residence and experiencing the culture shock of full immersion into sign language environment. It is a story of language alienation and friendship.

The film is based on the experiences of many hearing impaired youth who grow up in verbal environments and only later in their teens discover sign language. It also reflects the challenges and daily experiences of being deaf in Aotearoa and speaks to the participants desire that more people become fluent in New Zealand Sign Language.

The project has involved story development workshops, a weekend filming intensive, and work shopping with the participants during the editing process. It was filmed on location at the Kelston Deaf Education Centre, in Totara Village. The villiage provides a safe, nurturing environment for up to 23 Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents who attend Kelston Deaf Education Centre provisions at Kelston Intermediate School, Kelston Girls College, Kelston Boys High School or the Tu Kokiri Programme. Students range in age from 11 to 21 years old. It is currently being submitted to film festivals.


Directed by: Hank Snell
Written by: James Littlewood
Produced by: Melissa Laing, Amy Blinkhorne & Nicki Morrison
Camera and Editing: Hank Snell, Amy Blinkhorn & Lee Bunn
Boom Operator: Kelly Fox
Interpreter: Kelly Hodgins
Sound Mix: Ben Sinclair
Colour Grade: Alastair Tye Samson

Brandy Watene-Paul
Rikihana Turner-Himiona
Tuhoi Henry
Grace Kake-Moore
Brooklyn Teaurere West
Nicki Morrison
Barbara Peri
Senia Temalo
Nora Hita
Trey Canlas
Chanh Oai Lu
Sophie Keneissl
Tuahuroa Akuhata
Heremia Teepa-Rawiri

The film was made possible through the support of the Kelston Deaf Education Centre, Auckland Deaf Society and Deaf Aotearoa

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