Comedy & Drama Films

I wrote all the films below, and also directed those with a star* by them. All films can be seen in full by clicking on their titles.

Also check out my documentary Found (28 mins, 2015) by clicking here.

Quick links:

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen go to Blackpool* (2014) 28 mins
The Kiss* (2013) 7 mins 60,000 views on YouTube
My Song (2011) 28 mins
Hands Solo (2010) 15 mins 50,000 views on YouTube
The Fingerspellers (2010) 8 x 5mins
Departure Lounge (2009)
Four Deaf Yorkshiremen* (2008) 190,000 views on YouTube
Coming Out (2007) 225,000 views on YouTube

poster stillFOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN GO TO BLACKPOOL* (2014)
28 mins
Mutt & Jeff Pictures
Funded by BSLBT
Broadcast on Film4 and the 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

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 11.40.28THE KISS* (2013)
7 mins
Self-funded, supported by Dada South
Premiered at Bradford International Film Festival, March 2014
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)

MY SONG (2011)
24 mins
C&B Films / BSLBT
A coming of age story which follows Ellen, a young deaf girl stuck in the middle of the deaf and hearing worlds. Feeling as though she doesn’t fit in, Ellen learns sign language, attempting to enter the deaf world by taking part in a sign song competition in London. However Ellen is about to find her journey more difficult than she first thought. Funded by the British Sign Language Trust (BSLBT), My Song is thought-provoking and reveals a hidden truth about the deaf community in Britain today.
My Song premiered on the Community Channel and Film Four (on UK digital TV) on 23rd May 2011. It can be seen in full online at http://www.bslbt.co.uk/programmes/my-song/
Director: William Mager
Actors: Lara Steward, Cassie Raine, Daryl Jackson, David Hay, Will Dunn, Linda Richards

Awards: Best short film, Deaf in the Picture (Amsterdam) 2011, Best actress, Clin d’Oeil (Reims, France) 2011, Shown at Brighton International Festival 2011, Adelaide Film Festival (Australia) 2015.
Reviews: DaDa South, ITV SignPost, D-PAN Interview, I look so I can hear (blog),

HANDS SOLO (2010, cert: 15)
1 x 15 mins
UK Film Council/104 Films
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.)
Director: William Mager
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

THE FINGERSPELLERS (2010)
8 x 5mins
BSLBT/Remark Production
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

DEPARTURE LOUNGE (2009) 1 x 30 mins
BSLBT/Mutt and Jeff Pictures
‘Departure Lounge’ is about two deaf men who become friends in hospital, one a terminally ill pensioner, the other a disillusioned teenage porter. At different stages of their life, their friendship gives them hope for the future when they consider the possibility of a “deaf heaven.”
Director: Louis Neethling
Actors: Hal Draper, David Sands, Abi Gorman, Patsy Palmer
Awards: Merit Award, SuperFest – Berkeley, California, USA (2011), Best Film of Festival, Deaffest Film Festival – Wolverhampton, UK (2010), Best Short Film, Ippocampus Ciak – Milan, Italy (2010), Audience Choice Award, Ippocampus Ciak – Milan, Italy (2010)

FOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN* / FOUR DEAF YORKSHIREMEN AND THE MISSING WIFE*(2007/2008)
2 x 10 mins
Supported byRemark 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)
1 x 6 mins
BDA/Mutt and Jeff Pictures
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…”
Director: Louis Neethling
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)

Not forgetting…

WHIPLASH (1999)
My first film, made when I was 17. One of three I made for my Art A-Levels. ‘Whiplash’ was intended to delve into the psychology of driving… featuring two very differently aged drivers, each as reckless as the other…
Music was a track called ‘Five Mile Drive’ by local band Outsider.
Actors: Mark Stringer, Howard Swinbourne

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