Over 160 people flocked to Club 206 in St James Park for the BSL Zone showcase last Thursday. In addition to three films being shown on the big screen, their filmmakers and actors were also present and people commented throughout the night that it was great to see the showcase finally arrive in the north-east. 

Before the main event, there was a family screening of You, Me for children. Afterwards they got to meet Simon Herdsman and Erika Levi who directed and produced the film as well as other Deaf ‘celebrities’ such as Scott Garthwaite aka Punk Chef – there was great excitement as they scrabbled to get their autographs!

You, Me was shown again at the main event along with Punk Chef and Life Out There, all three chosen specifically to promote the talents from the north-east. After each film there was a Q&A session where the audience could ask filmmakers and actors about their involvement in the programmes.  The audience were very proud at seeing talent from the north-east on screen and at the event, and said they wanted to see more local people become involved in programme-making. 

Many said it was great to see Deaf role models such as Erika, Simon, David Ellington who directed Life Out There and Scott because they could relate to them. Some children at the showcase said they want to become actors or directors when they are older and some teenagers in attendance have already made a start in achieving their dream careers and are making their own films at home. Simon and Dawn Marshall of Becoming Visible, who worked with BSL Zone in putting on this event, said they hope these young people get the opportunity to develop their talents further.

At the end of the showcase BSLBT received a lot of positive feedback with people saying they wanted BSL Zone to organise another event in the north-east to provide more opportunities for them to see films on the big screen.

The showcase wouldn’t have been the success it was without the support of Dawn Marshall and her team at Becoming Visible –  a deaf organisation who provide services to deaf people in the north-east. The volunteers were brilliant with their dedication and time in ensuring that everything went well. The venue also turned out to be ideal – providing a bit of glitz on the night, while football fans were overjoyed to find themselves at the heart of Newcastle United football club!

Photos by Jolanta Savicaite.

Becoming Visible made a video of the evening. See if you can find yourself in it here!