A story about finding yourself on a Deaf football team
Interview with writer, director and producer Mimi d’Autremont
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I made Anyone Like Me as my graduate school thesis project. I was interested in the community at Gallaudet University in DC, as it is the only university specifically designed for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in the world. As I started considering potential storylines, I met Shelby Bean, a Hard of Hearing football coach who did not grow up in the Deaf community and has had to work harder than most to fit in. I was inspired by his story and knew pretty early on in the process that his story was what I had been looking for.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This film offers a unique glimpse into the Deaf community, which can be hard to access if you are Hearing and don’t understand the variances between Hearing and Deaf cultures. If you like football, are interested in watching people overcome stigmas about disabilities, and like a good love story then you will enjoy this film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
While Shelby’s story is unique to him, I found while making the film that everyone at Gallaudet has a story like his. Ninety percent of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children come from families with no prior knowledge of American Sign Language or Deaf culture. When those students come to Gallaudet, it’s culture shock. And the lesson of learning who you are and how you fit in with society is an experience that extends beyond Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Seeing as I started this project in my first semester of a two year graduate program, it evolved considerably. In order to tell the story, I had to learn more about ASL and Deaf culture, as well as learn as much as possible about football. One thing I’m not sure most people realize is when a film is being edited, it changes frequently and dramatically. Mine definitely evolved a lot while I was in the cutting room.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
So far the feedback I have received has been overwhelmingly positive. I screened the film at Gallaudet and I had players coming up and thanking me for telling their story. I also screened it for the referee league that oversees Gallaudet’s games and they shared their perspectives with me, which ultimately was a huge reminder of how universal an experience football and other sports really are. How, regardless of your language, everyone knows exactly what’s happening. It was pretty incredible.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
My feedback has mostly reaffirmed why I decided to tell this story. Even if it’s critical feedback, I see that it’s making people think critically about the topic, which is ultimately something I want from my audience.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want to start reaching wider audiences than the immediate DC area and We Are Moving Stories seems like a great way to start that process!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’m currently starting to build a fundraiser so I can apply to more film festivals, so I’d love to gain interest from anyone and everyone who might want to help fund me or help produce screenings at schools and festivals.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I think my film has the potential to be a great learning tool in schools. I also think it has potential to be screened at a variety of film festivals and potentially through some athletic news sources. I’d like people to have a better understanding of Deaf culture and what really is and is not a ‘disability’ and I think my film explores that in an interesting, effective way.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How does the label ‘disability’ change or impact someone’s everyday existence?
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I don’t have my next project yet, I’m still in full distribution and fundraising mode for this one.
Interview: September 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Anyone Like Me
A story about finding yourself on a Deaf football team
Length: 26 minutes
Director: Mimi d’Autremont
About the writer, director and producer:
Mimi d'Autremont is a photographer and filmmaker most recently based in Washington, DC. She earned her M.A. in New Media Photojournalism from the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at the George Washington University in 2017. She has produced photo and video pieces about Deaf football, U.S. Diplomats living abroad, firefighters, and a local burlesque performer, among others. Most recently, Mimi spent her summer teaching photography & filmmaking for Putney Student Travels’ Pre-College program in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is originally from Portland, Oregon.
Key cast: Shelby Bean, Katie Giles
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Funders, producers, film festival directors.
Social media handles:
Where can I see it in the next month?
DC Shorts Film Festival