Slovenian film on sign language wins Indian film festival

Chennai, 10 February - A Slovenian documentary made in cooperation with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia (ZDGNS) won Best International Film at the 8th Indian International Deaf Film Festival 2023 in Chennai. The film tackles the efforts of the deaf community for the right to use sign language to be recognised in the constitution.

Slovenia to recognise sign language in its constitution.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

The film, titled 62.a - From Prohibition to the Constitution, depicts the fight for the right to use Slovenian sign language. It shows the development of sign language use in education, where sign language was prohibited until the 1980s. The prohibition had a strong impact on the deaf minority, which the film shows through personal stories.

Winning a festival in a country that is home to the Bollywood film industry and around ten million deaf people is important for the Slovenian deaf community and the development of the Slovenian sign language. This is a way for deaf people to strengthen their cultural creativity and persistently care for their language identity and the Slovenian sign language, ZDGNS wrote in a press release.

ZDGNS president Mladen Veršič accepted the award in the name of the organisation. He thanked the creative team behind the film for their dedicated work and noted that in the last few years Slovenia had made an important step forward to improve the situation of the deaf community.

The right to use Slovenian sign language was enshrined in the constitution in May of 2021 in Article 62.a, to which refers the title of the film. Slovenia was the fifth country in the EU to recognise sign language in the constitution.

There are some 1,500 deaf persons in Slovenia who use the Slovenian sign language. Around 450 have a cochlear implant, some 100 are deaf-blind persons who use a tactile sign language and about 75,000 use a hearing aid.

The 8th Indian International Deaf Film Festival 2023 was held at the end of January.

© STA, 2023