Tara's Story is a documentary film, shot and edited in 2006, when I was a graduate student at Gallaudet University. At the time, we were going through the selection of a new university president but the search process was flawed, which resulted in a massive protest by students, faculty, alumni, and community members. At one point, the protests escalated so much that it resulted in a campus shut down and 134 arrested on one night (on a Friday, October 13th), which was known as the Black Friday.
All through it, I happened to have a video camera (originally intended for a class project) but armed with a video camera, I began to record, and I recorded what I saw. The anger, the frustration, the sadness, the desperation, the fighting, the disagreements, and especially the accusations from the administrators that students "didn't understand" and should just simply "move on". The whole protest was complicated and not simply explained as it was clearly understood back in 1988, with the Deaf President Now! movement which was a huge civil rights movement back then. The 2006 protests was more about the unfairness in the system itself, the racism and prejudices and the audism so deeply ingrained that it took another massive protest to shake the foundation of the University itself.
Tars was one of the student leaders and this film showed the protests through her eyes, which was as close as to my own.
Watch it here.
Tara's Story received international acclaim in a number of Deaf film festivals, won several awards including audience's vote twice, and you can view it here. (A version is available, subtitled in English.) 13 minutes long.
Audience's Vote and Judges' Choice, 2007, Deaf Rochester Film Festival
Audience's Vote, 2009, Bay Area Deaf Film Festival
Top 3 Selected, 2010, World Deaf Cinema Festival
Shown at the following festivals: Helsinki Deaf Film Festival, Stockholm Deaf Film Festival, Deaf in the Picture Festival in Amsterdam, Deaf Studies Today! Film Festival in Utah, and the WFD World Congress Film Festival in Madrid.