Students granted film documentary on deaf culture in Jamaica

The same Goshen College grant that funded the student documentary “Fuerza” has been awarded to a team of five Goshen College students for their documentary “Being Deaf: An International Perspective.” This is the second year for the contest in which 12 institutions – including Goshen College – that share an interest in peace and justice issues can submit proposals for a documentary.

According to Ron Johnson, associate professor of communication, “The winning entry was better on journalism aspects, and it had a stronger statement of peace and justice issues.”

The winning team received a $5,000 production grant from the Goshen College communication department.

Initiated by Douglas Hallman, a junior, the documentary will explore the culture of Jamaica and compare cultural standards on the treatment of the deaf. Included in the production team are Dusty Diller, a senior; Sarah Jenesen, a senior; Charity Grimm, a junior; and Taylor Stansberry, a junior.

According to Hallman, “The entire project came about after I checked my e-mail while on S.S.T.” Hallman read an announcement about the peace and justice competition. As he worked at a deaf preschool the next day, Hallman realized he had found an excellent topic for a documentary.

After some quick brainstorming, Hallman gathered a team, which wasn’t an easy task. He emailed Jensen, who was on S.S.T. in China; Stansberry and Diller, who were in California studying at the Los Angles Film Studies Center (LAFSC); and Grimm, who was at a different S.S.T. location in Jamaica.

A week later, Hallman had a team. Together they wrote a lengthy proposal and made a video concept trailer just in time for the deadline.

The documentary is currently in pre-production. Both Jensen and Hallman are in Los Angeles at the LAFSC this semester. According to Hallman, the majority of the footage will be shot after May Term. At this point, the team has plans of filming locations in the Goshen area, Washington, D.C. and Jamaica.

“This project is by far the largest and most in-depth that I’ve ever worked on,” said Hallman. “I can honestly say that I have no idea of the number of hours that will be put in to finish the project.”

Perhaps the makers of “Fuerza” have some advice.

The trailer for the documentary:


Written by Annalisa Harder

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