Year of production2006
Broadcast and production partnersSBS
Bethany Rose and Scott Masterson are schoolmates, a couple of energetic and charming teenagers who share 3 things – adolescence, school, and deafness.
We see deafness as a disability to be cured. But to Bethany and Scott, their deaf world is a rich culture of human possibility, with its own language, rules, challenges and inspirations. Above all, it is about seeing, and dancing a language of profound gestural communication. It is a culture that few people know or fully understand.
Welcome 2 My Deaf World follows Bethany and Scott through the last few months of their schooling at the Victorian College for the Deaf (VCD), Australia’s first school for deaf kids, and now the only place that teaches in sign language from Prep to Year 12. With dreams of creative, sporting and academic success, both teenagers are eager to move beyond their sheltered lives and enter the wider world.
Bethany and Scott share a past – once they were girlfriend and boyfriend. Like most teen romances, the relationship was short lived. They also share the experience of being the only deaf child in a hearing home.
Scott’s mother is determined that Scott will lead a normal life. This means ‘talking’ at home, not signing and the idea of a ‘disability pension’ is off the menu. Instead we see Scott’s mother pushing him to finish Year 12 at school and find a real job. Scott struggles to match her ambitions – preferring to play footy, party, chase girls – hearing or deaf – and dream of a new car.
Bethany has left her family in the country to return to Victorian College for the Deaf so she can study in Auslan. She has moved into a friend’s bungalow and is now determined to pass Year 12. Bethany has high ambitions – except her interrupted schooling has left her stuck doing subjects that will lead her nowhere. She would love to talk and decides once again to try hearing aids even though she knows they will give her a headache.
This story of two teenagers on the edge of change is really the saga of what it means to be deaf in contemporary Australia. It is an exploration of a culture with its own language and history. Ignored, dismissed, secret – it has persisted and grown through centuries and shows us a different way of communicating, of knowing each other, of being human. Bethany, Scott and the school are its custodians.
Welcome 2 My Deaf World is an insight into their world.
360 Degree Films
GPO Box 2009 Darwin NT 0801
NominatedBest Documentary Australian Film Institute Awards 2006
NominatedBest Documentary Australian Teacher's of Media (ATOM) Awards 2006
Voted Most PopularDocumentary Real Life on Film Festival Melbourne 2006