Quick links (more detailed information below):
Turn on subtitles if you are sign-impaired
Deaf Funny Episode 6 (2019) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
Deaf Funny Episode 5 (2019) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
Deaf Funny Episode 4 (2018) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
Deaf Funny Episode 3 (2018) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
Deaf Funny Episode 2 (2017) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
Deaf Funny Episode 1 (2017) 28 mins (RTS Yorkshire Writer Award) (broadcast on Film4)
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen go to Blackpool (2014) 28 mins (broadcast on Film4)
The Kiss (2013) 7 mins (70,000 views on YouTube)
Hands Solo (2010) 15 mins (50,000 views on YouTube)
The Fingerspellers (2010) 8 x 5mins (broadcast on Film4)
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen (2008) (200,000 views on YouTube)
Coming Out (2007) (225,000 views on YouTube)
Deaf Funny Episode 5 and Episode 6 (2019)
(Eyewitness Media/Wellington Films for BSL Zone)
2x 28 mins 2018, Film4/Together
Sketch show about Deaf Culture. In this episode, two builders learn what the signs for swear words are, a priest deals with an confession that may or may not be confidential, a woman is ‘switched on’, plus the Cowboy Interpreter, BSL Police and Sign Fit all return.
Actors: John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jean St Clair, Deepa Shastri, Emily Howlett , Rebecca Withey, Adam Bassett, Donna Mullings, Ben Green, Gemma Arrowsmith, Erin Hutching and Jeff Bennett.
Watch the Swear Signs sketch from episode 5 of Deaf Funny on Facebook here!
Deaf Funny Episode 3 and Episode 4 (2018)
(Eyewitness Media/Wellington Films for BSL Zone)
2x 28 mins 2018, Film4/Together
Sketch show about Deaf Culture. This time, the Cowboy Interpreter ruins a political speech, the BSL Police intervenes in a bank robbery, a pub landlady struggles to get her Deaf customers to go home, and there’s a reversal of the usual situation at a Hearing Awareness Class!
Actors: John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jean St Clair, Deepa Shastri, Nadeem Islam, Rebecca Withey, Adam Bassett, Donna Mullings, Ben Green, Gemma Arrowsmith, Erin Hutching and Jeff Bennett.
Festival screenings: Deaffest 2019
Awards: Best TV Programme, Deaffest 2019
300,000 views and counting: watch the Deaf Class sketch from Episode 3 of Deaf Funny on Facebook here! Plus click here to watch the Cowboy Interpreter sketches, and here to watch the BSL Police ‘car stop’ sketch!
Watch the Behind the Scenes film here.
(Juggle Productions/BSL Zone)
28 mins, 2017, Film 4/Community Channel
The world’s first sign language comedy sketch show for television. This programme stars 8 Deaf actors and comedians in the guise of a number of characters. The sketches and characters are drawn from Deaf life and popular culture, including a football manager, a fitness instructor, a Cowboy Interpreter, a Deaf spy, and many more.
Actors: John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jean St Clair, Deepa Shastri, Nadeem Islam, Rebecca Withey, Adam Bassett, Fifi Garfield, Sue Mitchell and Ben Green.
Festival screenings: Deaffest 2017, CineDeaf (Rome) 2017, Festival De Silencio (Milan) 2018.
Awards: Royal Television Society Yorkshire, Writer, 2018. Best film/fiction, CineDeaf Film Festival (Rome, Italy) 2017. The judges said: “A work full of elements that concern Deaf Culture and authors have been able to make really visible and ironically understandable for the whole international community. It is hoped that elements will be used by young directors of the future and lay the foundations of a new Deaf Comedy.”
FOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN GO TO BLACKPOOL* (2014)
BSLBT/Mutt & Jeff Pictures
Film 4/Community Channel
Four grumpy old Deaf men travel to Blackpool for an annual Deaf event. But when they meet a group of young Deaf men, things start to go wrong. Can the old and young men find a way to get on?
Producer/Mentor: Louis Neethling
Actors: John Smith, Matt Kirby, Jonathan Reid, Ilan Dwek, Matthew Gurney, Adam Bassett, Sean Richards, Ali Briggs, Rachel Shenton
Behind the scenes film (made by Fifi Garfield)
Screenings: Deaffest 2014, Irish Deaf Film Festival 2014, Together! Disability Festival 2014, Ilkley Literature Festival 2014, European Film Festival Integration You and Me 2015
Awards: Best Film & Best Director, Basque Region Festival of Sign Languages, 2015
THE KISS* (2013)
Self-funded and produced, supported by Dada South.
When a couple meeting in a cafe on their first date start talking to the couple on the next table, they find that some things can only be said with a kiss.
Actors: Matt Kirby, Deepa Shastri, Ben Rufus Green, Chloe Gilgallon
Awards: Best Film & Best scriptwriter, Basque Region Festival of Sign Languages, 2014
Screenings: Bradford International Film Festival 2014, Shuffle Festival (London) 2014, Ilkley Literature Festival 2014, The Other Film Festival 2014, The Irish Deaf Film Festival 2014, MINCASOR Deaf Film Festival 2015 (Madrid), 30th Biennal of Theatre and Film for Deaf people 2015 (Barcelona), ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival 2015 (New York), Ankara Accessible Film Festival 2015 (Turkey), Picture This Film Festival 2015 (Calgary, Canada), Bosifest 2015 (Serbia), Cinedeaf 2015 (Rome), Deaffest 2015 (UK, Nominated for Best British Film), BBC See Hear Sign Language Weekend 2015, Deaf Week (Germany) 2015, Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival 2016, Dov Film Festival (Sweden) 2016, Bristol Encounters Film Festival 2016, Cork International Film Festival 2016, Glasgow Short Film Festival.
Reviews: 7 things you’ll love about The Kiss (by the Silent Grapevine)
HANDS SOLO (2010, cert: 15) (WRITER)
1 x 15 mins
UK Film Council/104 Films. Directed by William Mager
Released theatrically across the UK as part of the Magic Hour, Hands Solo is a mockumentary about a deaf man with a very special, yet controversial talent (or should that be “salad?”) at his fingertips. Hands, a 30 year old deaf man, is admired by men and loved by women for his work in adult classics such as ‘The Wristler,’ ‘The Empire Signs Back’ and ‘Glove of the Dragon.’ But when he sends his co-star into a coma, he is forced to confront his life choices… the film was described by Sight and Sound as “a solid if typically silly contribution to the great British mockumentary tradition.” (watch in full here – please be advised the film is not explicit but is very rude indeed. You can also see a special bonus film about Hands’ Mum and Dad, here.)
Actors: Matt Kirby, Nicola Stapleton, Deepa Shastri, Ben Green, Chris Curran
Awards: Best short film, World Deaf Cinema Awards (Washington DC) 2010; Audience Award, DC Fest 2010, Best special effects, Clin d’Oeil Rheims (France) 2011
Reviews: Holy Moly, Short of the Week, Short of the Week interview with director William Mager about making the film
Comedy mini-series about a family of 1940s deaf gangsters. With DeafFather growing older, can Sonny protect the family from the growing menace of the Opera family? Starring the great and the good of the deaf acting world, the series – directed by award winning deaf director William Mager – premiered in March 2010 on the Community Channel and on You Tube. A 30 minute version was released later that year.
Director: William Mager
Actors: Ilan Dwek, Rebecca-Anne Withey, Matt Kirby, Stephen Collins, Matthew Guerney, Diana Martin, David Hirshman
FOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN* / FOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN AND THE MISSING WIFE*(2007/2008)
2 x 10 mins
Supported by Remark Production
Filmed in one afternoon for £100, my directing debut clocked up over 130,000 views on YouTube. Four grumpy deaf men argue about their deaf childhood – and soon a waterlogged roof, a frozen little finger and a mould-ridden loaf of bread come to life in their hands! The film was followed by a sequelthe following year.
Actors: John Smith, Matt Kirby, Ilan Dwek, Jonathan Reid
COMING OUT (2007) (WRITER)
1 x 6 mins
BDA/Mutt and Jeff Pictures. Directed by Louis Neethling.
A boy goes to his mother with a compelling secret. Will she understand? A quirky comedy, ‘Coming Out’ premiered at the London Deaf Film Festival and was later shown on BBC2, clocking up over 200,000 views on YouTube. The film won numerous awards around the world and an ITV Writers Award at the 2007 DaDa festival – the prize being three weeks with the Coronation Street story team.
“I thought you were just being artistic…”
Actors: David Hay, Debbie Norman, Ilan Dwek
Awards: ITV Best Scriptwriter, DaDa Awards – ITV (2007), Best Film, Deaffest Film Festival – Wolverhampton, UK (2007),
Best International Film, Finnish Sign Language Film Festival – Helsinki, Finland (2007), Best Film, Clin d’ Oeil Festival – Reims, France (2007)