The Slovenia Times

Slovenian docu on sign language wins Indian film fest

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

A documentary about the Slovenian deaf community's efforts to have the right to use their sign language enshrined in the constitution won Best International Film at the 8th Indian International Deaf Film Festival 2023 in Chennai.

The film 62.a - From Prohibition to the Constitution traces 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 community, which the film shows through personal stories.

Winning a film 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, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia (ZDGNS) said.

This is a way for deaf people to strengthen their cultural creativity and foster their language identity and the Slovenian sign language, said ZDGNS, which participated in the making of the film.

ZDGNS president Mladen Veršič accepted the award on behalf 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 improving 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 the title of the film refers. 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.


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