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Updated: May 11, 2023


Deaf Awareness Week 2022 (2-8 May), aims to raise awareness and challenges of deafness and hearing loss experienced  by 1 in 6 people in the UK



Birds Eye View Access & Inclusion Manager

Growing up, I was self-conscious about my hearing aids. I hated being called deaf, and I didn’t feel a part of either the Deaf world or the hearing world. I barely saw any characters with hearing loss in the films and television I consumed, let alone young deaf girls with hearing aids like me. If I did see any Deaf representation, these characters were often one-dimensional, the butt of the joke, or side-lined. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I saw Deaf representation that resonated with me and made me feel proud of my identity.

In the last few years, we’ve seen a surge in mainstream and independent films exploring deafness and starring Deaf characters and actors. Films such as SOUND OF METAL and CODA have been received with critical acclaim—a highlight in this year’s award season being Troy Kotsur’s Oscar win, making him the first Deaf man to win an acting Academy Award. Deaf Awareness Week takes place between 2nd and 8th May, and this year’s theme is Deaf Inclusion—with the aim of increasing awareness and visibility of Deaf experiences and stories. As Birds Eye View’s Access & Inclusion Manager, I have shared these recommendations of screen stories (written or directed by women) that explore and celebrate Deaf perspectives and identities.


Written by Rachel Shenton

Short film (20 mins)

This British Sign Language short film tells the story of Libby, a profoundly deaf 6-year-old who is deprived of language and communication, until she meets a social worker who teaches her to  sign. Going on to win an Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards, this drama explores the isolation that young Deaf children can experience if they aren’t able to access sign language, depicting a reality that many Deaf children are forced into.

Click HERE for where to watch


Directed by Naoko Yamada

Shouya Ishida starts bullying the new girl in class, Shouko Nishimiya, because she is deaf. But as the teasing continues, the rest of the class starts to turn on Shouya for his lack of compassion. When they leave elementary school, Shouko and Shouya do not speak to each other again… until an older, wiser Shouya, tormented by his past behaviour, decides he must see Shouko once more.  He wants to atone for his sins, but is it already too late…?

Click HERE for where to watch

CODA (2021)

Dir. Sian Heder

Winning Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, Heder’s tender drama tugs at the heartstrings with its gentle storytelling of a Deaf family and a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) daughter. Ruby, the titular CODA, chases her dreams of singing while struggling to support her family’s fishing business. Not without its faults and criticisms from individuals in the Deaf and CODA communities, CODA’s success has amplified conversations around access and the inclusion of Deaf talent in the film industry, with its theatrical release dedicated to ensuring accessible cinema experiences for audiences with access needs. CODA will surely open the door for more Deaf led projects, and it’s my hope that the number of accessible theatrical releases will continue to grow with momentum. These films are a small handful of the stories that are out there, so do seek out more films made by and starring Deaf individuals, and support representation and access behind and in front of the camera.

Click HERE for where to watch

Click HERE  to read an interview I did with Sian Heder for Little White Lies last year

Click HERE to listen to me talking about Coda on Girls on Film with Anna Smith

If you are interested at looking at films by other Deaf women directors and writers look at Jules DameronTeresa GarrattyNatasha Ofili (whose debut short film had its US premiere at Slamdance)

Some other interesting articles on Deaf women in film: Click HERE and HERE

Also, check out Deaffest. I was one of the Judges this year.

The future of Female Professionals in the Film & TV Industry – Meet the Panellists

Click HERE to find out more

Charlotte Little – Access & Inclusion Manager

Charlotte Little (she/her) is a deafblind access consultant working in the film exhibition sector. Based in Edinburgh, Charlotte works with cinemas, festivals, and organisations on improving access and inclusion for Deaf and Disabled audiences, having worked with organisations such as Filmhouse, Bohemia Media, Sundance London, and Film Hub Scotland. She is also a film curator and writes about disability in cinema, and she recently launched Caption This Cinema, a pop-up dedicated to accessible screenings and diverse representation. Charlotte works as an access consultant under Matchbox Cine, an independent film exhibitor and an award-winning subtitler, specialising in access provision for film exhibition & distribution.

Follow Charlotte:



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