Magnetic Boots Productions presents the short film Hand in Hand, set in a hearing school in the 1970s, where New Zealand Sign Language is banned and two Deaf girls risk it all to experience true friendship.
Born out of writer and director Shelley Waddams’ passion to see more Deaf representation and more accessibility to Deaf stories, Hand in Hand was first drafted during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Waddams is a CODA (child of Deaf adult) and with both parents and many of her extended family being Deaf, she has always felt a close connection with the Deaf community.
Based on Waddams' mother’s real-life experience of growing up Deaf in a hearing world, the story follows Annette (Natalia Kay), the only Deaf girl in her class: that is, until Nicola (Sadie Earl) arrives. The two hit it off right away, only to be told off and punished by Miss Dawson (Dawn Glover) for using NZSL. Despite this, the girls’ friendship grows.
Hand in Hand, produced by Georgia Hoskins-Smith, is the final of six short films released from August to September via the 2022 Someday Stories platform. Someday Stories, now in its sixth year, funds a series of six sustainability-focused short films by emerging young filmmakers from Aotearoa New Zealand.
Hand in Hand provides a glimpse into the Deaf experience. With the audience only hearing what Annette hears (plus some curated music) and use of NZSL (New Zealand Sign Language), the hearing audience will get an idea of what life is like for a Deaf person, the isolation that can come from it, but also the pure joy of finding friendship in a world that doesn’t feel as if it accepts you.
One of the best things to come from this project is giving the Deaf community the opportunity to see more of their stories on screen.
Until the 1980s, NZSL was used privately among Deaf people as signing was not viewed positively by society. This part of New Zealand history is not common knowledge to the hearing community and Hand In Hand helps brings this to light.
Hand in Hand, written and directed by Shelley Waddams and produced by Georgia Hoskins-Smith, is the final of six short films released from August to September via the 2022 Someday Stories platform. Someday Stories, now in its sixth year, funds a series of six sustainability-focused short films by emerging young filmmakers from Aotearoa New Zealand.
All of the films are accessible to watch through the Someday Stories channels and their screen partners RNZ, Whakaata Māori and PlayStuff. The Someday Stories initiative is supported by NZ On Air, Te Māngai Pāho and the NZ Film Commission.
Streaming via the Someday Stories Facebook page, along with Someday Stories website, YouTube, and Vimeo. Hand in Hand is also available via Someday Stories screen partners PlayStuff, RNZ and Whakaata Māori On Demand