Solar Bear’s partnership with Filmhouse Edinburgh presents Solar Flares: Deaf Heritage, a short film festival to present a flourishing creative body of deaf filmmakers and powerful stories they seek to tell.
Scott Campbell’s Deaf Kilmarnock, Their Story enables a lost history to be explored. Its touching portrayal of the Deaf communities of Ayrshire and the two Deaf clubs are led by thoughtful interviews by those still involved. For the interviewees, technology is a double-edged sword – it’s enabling of alternative communication on an everyday level has connected the community in a different way than before, but equally, for younger generations its immediate accessibility has replaced the social events that had previously tied the community together. Campbell’s documentary paints an image of a collective grateful for the connectedness they once had, and though content, they still express a tangible sorrow for the disengagement of Deaf youths.
Following this, two short films by Will Clark and Ruairdh Lever-Hogg display their commitment to remaining in touch with the artistic traditions that their forebears so lovingly produced. Clark’s film, Scotland, Forgive Me, is a startling video-poem set amidst rolling landscapes and fierce winds as a man finds a connective ground between British Sign Language and dance, swaying his body in emotive symbiosis with the very meanings he communicates. Central to the piece is a nuanced tackling of identity as predicated on accent, and a discussion of how someone who communicates through British Sign Language (without the cadence of spoken Scottish English) engages with their identity.
Finally, Lever-Hogg’s documentary weaves the strands of generations of Deaf creatives into an awe-inspiring tapestry, encompassing painters, jewellers and more. As creatives like Lever-Hogg and Co. continue to produce stunning work, no doubt, increasing attention will be duly paid to Deaf artists.