Batter Up! Two Authentic Portrayals of Hearing Loss — Blog

I had the pleasure of moderating a post-screening talk for rally caps at ReelAbilities’ flagship festival in New York. A short film, deaf giants was shown before the feature film Rally Caps. Both are family films that share a baseball theme. And a common message: Hearing loss can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams. Both films are fun and appropriate for young audiences, including school-aged children.

Many films about hearing loss focus on the deaf experience, but not Rally Caps. Its accurate depiction of the experience of hearing loss, including the use of hearing technology of all kinds (instead of sign language), makes it an excellent film for educating the mainstream. What better way to break stigmas and generate conversation than by showing characters with hearing loss living their daily lives.

Read more about the films below.

Shari presents a talk at ReelAbilities.  She is sitting holding a microphone with 4 panelists sitting nearby.

Rally Caps shows how hearing technology helps us thrive

Rally Caps is the story of a boy, Jordy, who is injured during his little league tryouts. He recovers and heads to a baseball camp where he makes a friend, Lucas, who has just undergone cochlear implant (CI) surgery. As their friendship deepens, Jordy learns about his resilience and is able to overcome his fears to lead his team to the camp baseball championship.

Based on the “Rally caps” book, the film is family-friendly and star-studded, with Judd Hirsch as Jordy’s grandfather. The book’s co-author and mother of a deaf child, Jodi Michelle Cutler, is also a producer on the film. She worked tirelessly with the director. Lee Cipolla to ensure Rally Caps provides an authentic representation of the hearing loss experience.

For example, Lucas doesn’t hear Jordy’s arrival at the camp bunk because his devices are off, causing a misunderstanding. In another scene, Lucas asks his coach to use a mini microphone so he can hear him better in the crowd at the big game. Lucas also works with his sister Niki, who uses CI, on hearing rehabilitation for her new CI. These educational moments flow seamlessly with the plot.

Fun Fact: Curtis PrideA deaf former Major League Baseball outfielder is the real-life father of the actors who play Lucas and Niki in the film.

Deaf Giants Ask Where Are Today’s Deaf Baseball Players?

Deaf Giants is a documentary about the history of deaf baseball players at the turn of the century. The film’s narrator is a baseball-obsessed teenager who wants his deaf younger brother to be able to play baseball despite his hearing loss. The film has many endearing moments (the narrator debates which professional baseball team he should join) but it also raises an important question. Why has baseball regressed in terms of deaf access?

Fun Fact: The “director” of Deaf Giant is the father of the two children who appear in the short, but the narrator is the main filmmaker who created the concept and pushed the making of the short film.

More about the movies

Find out more about the movies in the links below. Each is working to ensure wider distribution in theaters and schools. Please reach out directly if you are interested in scheduling a screening.

Deaf giants: Learn more

Rally caps: Learn more Contact

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