14 July 2011
ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman has praised an innovative approach to promotion of the relay service that makes it easier for Australians with hearing and speech impairments to make phone calls.
‘Quiet Signs of Love’, a 15-minute love-story, designed for online viewing only, centres on a romance between a young deaf woman and a young hearing man who meet at university. The professionally produced film explores the difficulties the couple faces, in a relationship that doesn’t always run smoothly. It also quietly promotes the National Relay Service – the government service that provides relay phone calls between people with hearing or speech impairments and anyone else. The ACMA is the contract manager for the service.
“This beautifully realised film is a wonderful example of how artistic innovation can convey an important social message”, said Mr Chapman. “Social media is growing rapidly and it is great to see such creativity used to engage not just Gen Y, but all generations.”
The film targets Generation Ys (aged 16-24) and is being shown on YouTube and promoted through emails, Facebook and Twitter. Deborah Fullwood of the National Relay Service said the film is being released online and via social media “because that’s where deaf Generation Y’s are, and because there’s no barrier online when you can’t hear”.
“Young deaf people use text, email and social media to an incredible degree. But there’s still an important role for actual phone calls – when people want to inquire about a job, order something by phone, or make an appointment with a doctor”, she said. “We wanted to let deaf young people know there is a service that lets them use the telephone to call hearing people — and they can do it all online, with internet relay”.
The compelling two-part love story was written and directed by Sydney film-maker Yannis Nikolakopoulos and features a ‘vibetrack’ by Brett Williams (of Choirboys fame) that allows deaf viewers to feel the music. The film also stars Matt Greenlaw and young deaf actress Bethany Robinson.
“There’s a great rapport between the characters that ultimately allows them to overcome their cultural and language differences,” Ms Fullwood said. “We wanted to highlight that deaf people don’t want to be ‘helped’ but want equal access to the services that the rest of us take for granted. The film also reminds people of the important role the National Relay Service plays in the lives of thousands of Australians daily”, she said.