“If I Knew What You Said” starring deaf actor now available online

Hello, guys! I know that this lockdown and quarantine is really wearing us down. We experienced more than two months of STAY-AT-HOME activity due to COVID-19 pandemic and most of our countrymen are under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).  This May, most of us are now entering the phase of General Community Quarantine (GCQ) although most metropolitan areas are still under the ECQ. So many of us are still at home.

You might be tired of watching Netflix or other streaming videos and cable TV movies. So may I add one more full-length film for you to watch? It’s about the struggles of a deaf boy in finding his mom while discovering his love for music. Dinig Sana Kita (If I Knew What You Said) is a 2009 Filipino drama/romance film directed and written by Mike Sandejas. I have been promoting this movie here, here and here. In fact, this has been one of my top search terms. I am also very much familiar with its lead actor Romalito Mallari. We have been friends many years back and I have always admired his talent as an expressive dancer and actor.

Wikipedia says the movie is about

The romantic film revolved around a rocker and a deaf boy. One lives in silence while the other in noise and fear. The two met in a Baguio camp where hearing kids were mixed with non-hearing kids to find their common ground, which is their love for music. Link

I have been wishing for this movie to be available online for free so that many can watch this! My wish has finally granted! My personal friend, fellow sign language interpreter and kumare Dean Nicky Templo-Perez of College of St. Benilde posted a link of the complete movie uploaded in Vimeo (not YouTube) in our common Facebook group chat. At first, I was doubtful about the link privacy because it is not searchable in Vimeo, the URL has two-level links (a /number/number) and there is a lock icon before the video title. So I posted a comment on the page requesting Director Mike if he can allow me to share it in my blog. He replied, “Go ahead”.

But there is a minor catch. Unlike unlocked YouTube or Vimeo videos, this one cannot be embedded here. So you need to go directly to the site by clicking on the link below or the screenshot image. Happy viewing guys and please share this video so that many people can watch this romantic advocacy movie!!!

Vimeo Video Screenshot of the Movie

https://vimeo.com/254252680/ef87598411

  • Thank you very much Direk Mike, Romalito and Dean Nicky for sharing this to me. 😉

 

Deaf roles should be given to deaf actors

Last week, our country celebrated its “Deaf Awareness Week”, an annual event which we have been doing since 1991 when then-President Corazon Aquino signed Proclamation 829. All schools for the deaf as well as government agencies are encouraged to promote the cause of deaf people in the Philippines.

Local media also participated in the awareness campaign. One of which is ABS-CBN, the country’s largest media and entertainment network, wherein one of their popular drama anthology “Maala-ala Mo Kaya” made an episode of a deaf letter-sender named CJ Reynaldo who was able to beat the odds by passing and graduating in the best university (University of the Philippines) despite his condition. See the video trailer/highlight below:

Prior to its airing late Saturday evening of November 10, the episode created a buzz in the social media within the Filipino deaf community. There were numerous sharing and commenting with ABS-CBN leading the way on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. We were all glued to the TV screen when it was shown. I even made an FB post about my experience watching it.


Screengrab from my Facebook Post

The story was very good and realistic. Hearing Actor Nash Aguas did a really swell job in portraying a very challenging deaf role. He acted very natural and convincing. With the support from her hearing mother played by the very talented Ms. Eula Valdez, the team really did their homework of studying sign language. Congratulations are in order for the MMK Group!!!

I am really satisfied with how they handled the story. However, what caught my attention was a Facebook post of a popular deaf actor and my friend Romalito Mallari after he watched the recent episode. He said,

Congrtz to CK’s story in mmk but i dnt accepted for hearing to be used deaf actor as a pretend person. I want see real new deaf actor. We proud of deaf actor. Sad! At least we watch u to make us inspired story. I hope one day deaf actor as well and we bravo u. Salute!

 

Romalito Mallari’s Facebook post

I have made a few blog posts about Romalito here when I promoted his movie “Dinig Sana Kita”. He is a very talented deaf artist. In fact, he even won a Best New Actor Award portraying the deaf lead role in this movie.

Come to think of it, his sentiment is right. Why did they not hire a real deaf actor to portray a deaf role? Perhaps the studio has its own valid reason for getting a hearing person to do a deaf role. But I felt sad and pitiful that deaf actors missed the only opportunity wherein they can work. Sure, they hired deaf actors to act as CJ’s friends and classmates. But their parts are too small and somewhat insignificant.

Facebook message conversation between me and Romalito

In the book, “For Hearing People Only, The Most Popular Handbook about the Deaf Community” of  Deaf Life Press/MSM Productions, Ltd, a question was raised.


“Do you have a problem
with hearing performers
playing Deaf roles?”

https://www.hpobook.com/q_and_a_sampling/DeafRole2016_2.html

For which the handbook author replied:

In the early days of Hollywood, Deaf roles were invariably played by hearing performers. Many of these characterizations were stereotyped (and would be considered offensive nowadays). Deaf actors and actresses began breaking into TV and film during the 1970s, scoring important advances—e.g., returning characters, lead characters, getting ASL-speaking Deaf performers in background roles. With these advances have come a demand for authenticity. A hearing performer who takes a Deaf role (typically with a crash course in ASL and Deaf mannerisms) is rarely convincing. Every Deaf role given to a hearing performer represents a lost opportunity. We believe that Deaf performers should be cast in Deaf roles.

American cinema and TV dramas are now providing significant opportunities to deaf actors. Who would never miss the Oscar awardee Marlee Matlin, CJ Jones of Baby Driver and the now-famous child star  Millicent Simmonds of a 2018 sleeper hit, A Quiet Place? They all portrayed deaf roles.

ABS-CBN might argue that they have no time to train a deaf actor to do the role on such short shooting days, or they might have difficulty finding a Filipino deaf actor to cast in the role. But I don’t believe that they have fully exhausted their options on this.

As the book says, “Every Deaf role given to a hearing performer represents a lost opportunity.” I may also add that, “deaf actors portraying deaf roles not only provide work opportunities for them but also advance the authentic awareness of the deaf people.”  

PS: A “Like Star” rating below for this post would be highly appreciated. 😉 😉 😉

Best Actor trophy Goes to the Deaf!

Romalito Mallari
Dinig Sana Kita Movie Poster

NO ONE was more surprised than Rome himself.

Romalito “Rome” Mallari, the Deaf actor in the Cinemalaya entry “Dinig Sana Kita,” scored an “unexpected victory” at the Star Awards, handed out by the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC).

Mallari won Best New Movie Actor, beating ABS-CBN’s current fair-haired boy Enchong Dee (who was nominated for “Paano Ko Sasabihin?”).

“Dinig” director Mike Sandejas commended the PMPC for choosing “a Deaf boy with no real future prospects in the industry over an upcoming popular actor … They simply believed that he deserved it. It was a leap of faith.”

Read the complete news article from Inquirer.net

This blogger is truly proud of your accomplishments, Rome! 🙂

“Dinig Sana Kita” (If I knew what you said) Trailer

Guys, please watch “Dinig Sana Kita”, a touching love story between a deaf dancer and a rocker girl who became close to each other while staying in a Baguio camp. Learn more about deaf performers from Dulaang Tahimik ng Pilipinas (Silent Theater Philippines) and featuring a special appearance of the band Sugarfree. The Cinemalaya foundation chose this film as one of the Top 10 Finalists for this year’s Full-length feature category megged by award winning director Mike E. Sandejas.

The digital film stars the filmmaker’s daughter Zoe Sandejas and a talented good-looking deaf Romalito Mallari. Rome, as he was fondly called, is a veteran in stage plays. The last time I watched him perform was during the “Dulac, Leyte 1595” presentation at UP Church of the Risen Lord grounds in 2005 where he portrayed as a Jesuit priest.

Here is the theatrical trailer:

This film together with nine other Cinemalaya 2009 winners will be shown from July 17-26 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City. Let us support our very own Filipino Indie films. 🙂

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