Arts & Culture

Ground-breaking BDA documentary premieres lost film footage

Monday 1 February
Ground-breaking BDA documentary premieres lost film footage

- February 01 at 09:00

The British Deaf Association is to premiere lost film footage in a ground-breaking documentary at the Barn Cinema in Dartington.

Power in Our Hands is described as a landmark documentary containing newly digitised archive footage, available to the public for the first time, exploring the secret history and heritage of the deaf community in the UK.

The film is being shown at the Barn Cinema on Sunday February 7 at 5pm.

Combining social history and archive film with contemporary interviews, and released in the 125th anniversary year of the British Deaf Association, Power in Our Hands explores the recognition of British Sign Language and Deaf rights in the UK.

The idea for the film began in 2004 when a group of builders accidently stumbled across the long-lost film from the BDA, dating back to the 1930s.

The new digitised footage was then carefully compiled into an uplifting 70 minute documentary.

Terry Riley, chair of the British Deaf Association said, “To see this old film footage is an emotional occasion for me. For many years, I never really knew or saw my language on screen.

“So to be able to sit down and see BSL on a par with any other language is a wonderful thing. To watch a bygone era - one I thought was lost forever to the world is just magical.

“Clips like the old missionaries, with fingers dancing up and down like lightening and deaf people really enjoying life, dancing in the street - what joyous years they were.

“This film will give the deaf community a feeling of history and sense of pride knowing BSL has been around for hundreds of years.”

Project manager Jemma Buckley said, "The process of gathering stories and memories about the events taking place in this rare footage has really enabled our archive to come alive.

“The important thing which is highlighted during the film, is that British Sign Language cannot be recorded in any other way other than film – it cannot be fully captured when written down or photographed - so this is the only way the language can be preserved for future generations.

“The preservation of BSL is one of BDA's key aims so this is a very important project for the organisation.”

Article source: Rom Preston-Ellis, Torquay Express