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Review for My Hero Project Inc, Laguna Beach, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

2015 My Hero Media Access Salon: Celebrating Deaf Talent in Music, Arts & Media!
Jo-Ann Dean, Arts & Entertainment Producer/Deaf Talent Guild

The event was an amazing bridge between two cultures separated by language not disability. American Sign Language (ASL) and stellar talent in the performing arts broke barriers with their clips of work shown to a mixed audience of 100+ entertainment professionals. Candid panel discussion and dialogue opened regarding Hollywood and Independent Films nontraditional casting. It was historical. Audience and panel were engaged as seldom heard voices were given the space and platform for expression. The effect was profound.

The My Hero Project was truly embraced as everyone in the audience learned something about each other. Deaf culture and talent were explored and shared by and amongst those in the audience and on the panel. Hosts one Hearing and one Deaf shared the intimate cultural experience bestowing identity through an ASL name sign. The exchange of ABC’s in ASL was an icebreaker followed by ABC cultural storytelling led to communal place of learning and sharing through the performing arts and media.

An emerging genre of ASL Music Videos by Deaf Rapper Sean Forbes opened the event followed by panelist’s clips of work in TV, Film and Theater including Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening at The Wallis and “No Ordinary Hero” feature film starring Marlee Matlin directed by panelist Troy Kotsur and documentary Jules by WIGS showing behind the scenes making of Adele’s music video Rolling in the Deep.

Bernard Bragg Co-Founder of National Theatre of the Deaf who is an 87 year-old entertainment veteran summed up his experience being honored and a panelist at My Hero Media Access Salon. “I have been waiting my whole life for this discussion to take place.” Host Alan “Spo” Schwartz and actress Katharine “Kat” Kramer both exemplified the fact “We are all heroes.”

Kudos My Hero Project for hosting this event. Greater Los Angeles Association for the Deaf (GLAD) representative Elizabeth Luttrell and California Association of the Deaf (CAD) in Entertainment’s Maria Monte Rey shared resources with the audience. The outreach stimulated much interest in The My Hero Project International Film Festival from the community. Five panelists included Music Video/Film/TV Director Jules Dameron, Actor/Director Troy Kotsur, Actress/Writer Kalen Feeney, Actress/Author Antoinette Abbamonte, ASL Performance Artist/Siren TL Forsberg and Her Deaf BoyZ rocked her original song “Darkside” to an awestruck audience.

Jo-Ann Dean, producer of event congratulate the My Hero Project for hosting the Media Access Salon at the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Educational Justice and Arts to Celebrate Deaf Talent, Culture and American Sign Language in Media.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would love to see entertainment industry help the organization to be able to caption their films which is a desired outcome to their organization. We have actively pursued grants to fund captioning costs. Invaluable staff and outreach and we aim to reach more through captioning grants, donation and programs such as the My Hero Media Access Salon.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2015

Role:  Professional with expertise in this field