SOUND AND FURY takes viewers inside the seldom seen world of the deaf to witness a painful family struggle over a controversial medical technology called the cochlear implant. Some family members celebrate the implant as a long overdue cure for deafness while others fear it will destroy their language and way of life. This feature documentary explores this seemingly irreconcilable conflict as it illuminates the ongoing struggle for identity among deaf people today.
The Artinian Family of Glen Cove, Long Island is at the epicenter of this conflict which is redefining the future of deafness. We follow Chris and Mari Artinian's family for two years, watching as they learn that their baby is deaf, as they fight with their deaf relatives over their decision to implant their child, and as their son undergoes surgery and hears sound for the first time in his life. During the same time period we follow Chris' brother, Peter Artinian, whose wife and three children are all deaf. Peter is an outspoken leader of the anti-implant deaf community in Long Island, and his world is turned upside down by his daughter's request for a cochlear implant. Initially, Peter and his wife, Nita, suspend their long-standing opposition to the implant, but as they learn more about how deaf children with implants are mainstreamed into the hearing world, they become afraid that their daughter will lose her deaf identity and reject their language, American Sign Language. They decide to move away from their hearing relatives in Long Island in order to become part of a more supportive deaf community in Maryland.
SOUND AND FURY is directed by Josh Aronson, who in the past 15 years has directed television series and specials, documentaries, and hundreds of rock videos and commercials. The film is produced by Roger Weisberg, who has written, produced, and directed 20 documentaries since 1980. Weisberg's and Aronson's films have won over 70 awards including Emmy, Peabody, and duPont-Columbia awards. Their previous productions, including ROAD SCHOLAR, have won top honors in dozens of international film festivals and have been theatrically released and distributed extensively abroad. Aronson and Weisberg are joined by Coordinating Producer Jackie Roth, an educator in the field of deafness and an actress who played the lead role in the critically acclaimed play "Children of a Lesser God." Born to deaf parents, Roth's first language was sign but she learned to lip-read extraordinarily well and has experienced firsthand the conflicts and issues addressed by SOUND AND FURY. By joining forces, Aronson, Weisberg and Roth have created a unique window into the embattled world of the deaf.
Josh Aronson ö DIRECTOR
Josh Aronson has directed and produced films in almost every area of the film business in the past 15 years. He is presently in production on FEELIN NO PAIN a documentary feature about doo-wop music featuring Kenny Vance and the Planotones. Through his own company Aronson has directed hundreds of television commercials and MTV videos across America and through his relationship with Michael Apted's Beechurst Films in London he has directed widely in Europe as well. Most recently Aronson directed a television special and a dramatic pilot for Nickelodeon, and was the director of 16 episodes of the Outward Bound series for the Discovery Channel. Aronson has won many awards including Ace awards, Clios, New York Industrial Film Festival and the Public Service Award of Excellence in film. Prior to working in film, Aronson was a freelance still photographer and worked as a correspondent for Time/Life. He's had one-man still photography exhibitions at the Loretta Hilton Gallery and the Mark Twain Gallery. Aronson attended New York University Film School and the Interlochen Music Academy (piano) and holds a BA in English and Music from Columbia University. He studied acting with Stella Adler and Ivan Kronenfeld in New York, and directing at AFI and the Mark Travis Directing Lab in Los Angeles
Roger Weisberg joined Thirteen/WNET in 1977 as a producer of the Emmy-winning series, HELP YOURSELF. He produced dozens of programs on a broad range of subjects including aging, domestic violence, juvenile justice, consumer fraud, health care, the environment, child welfare, and urban poverty. Since 1980, he wrote, produced, and directed twenty documentaries through his independent production company, Public Policy Productions. These documentaries have won over sixty awards including a Peabody, an Emmy, and duPont-Columbia award. While all of Weisberg's documentaries ultimately were broadcast on national public television, his 1993 feature documentary, ROAD SCHOLAR had a broad theatrical release before airing on PBS. The film won top honors at dozens of domestic and international film festivals before it was released in theaters across the country by the Samuel Goldwyn Company. The feature documentary won a Peabody award after it premiered on national public television in 1995, and television networks in 8 foreign countries subsequently broadcast ROAD SCHOLAR. Since the theatrical release of ROAD SCHOLAR, Weisberg has written, produced and directed SEX, TEENS AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS; OUR FAMILIES, OUR FUTURE; WHAT'S AILING MEDICINE; MAKING WELFARE WORK; SEX AND OTHER MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH; ENDING WELFARE AS WE KNOW IT; and A FAMILY GROWS IN BROOKLYN. His current production, THE MAIN STREAM, follows humorist Roy Blount Jr. on a whimsical offbeat journey down the Mississippi River in search of the literal and metaphorical "mainstream" of America.
Jackie Roth, Coordinating Producer, was born to deaf parents, signed from birth, and learned to lip read and speak extraordinarily well. Thus she functions equally well in the hearing world and the Deaf Culture world into which she was born. Jackie has experienced firsthand the conflicts and issues we will raise in SOUND AND FURY, making this documentary a work of passion for her. She has been an educator, administrator and consultant in the field of deafness, having trained many professionals in the area of communications and deafness. She has provided consulting services to corporations such as AT&T and non-profit entities such as Covenant House, Gay Men's Health Crisis, and the U.S. Forest Services. She has served on numerous Boards and at present is on the Board of Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID). Jackie also chaired several national conferences for Gallaudet University and organized one of their largest Deaf Awareness Festivals. She has equally devoted her career to the creative arts as an actress, director, and arts administrator. She has performed major roles for network prime time television programs and commercials. Jackie was Artistic Director for the New York Deaf Theater and performed the starring role in the Tony award winning play, Children of a Lesser God. Married to a hearing attorney, Jackie understands and lives in both the deaf and hearing worlds. She holds a Master of Arts in Deafness Rehabilitation from Gallaudet University and is a graduate of the NYU Film Program.
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SOUND AND FURY was a film that found me. I'd been directing, commercials, rock videos and television shows for 10 years but I wanted to make a feature length documentary film and was searching for a subject that would totally engage me. I happened to meet a deaf woman who had just gotten a cochlear implant and she proudly reported that she could talk on the phone for the first time in 30 years. That was certainly dazzling, but when she told me her deaf friends of 20 years had rejected her after she got the implant - that very real human drama grabbed me.
I was in the middle of producing and directing two documentaries - one on welfare reform and another on children in foster care - when I got a phone call out of the blue from Josh Aronson. When he described his production on the conflict in the deaf world, I had to admit I was intrigued and that I knew nothing about this centuries old battle. Since I was already a bit overextended, my initial intent was to refer him to friends at WNET and PBS, but that was before I saw footage he had already shot. When I saw the characters he found, I was hooked and promptly embraced the opportunity to collaborate with Josh to produce SOUND AND FURY.
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For theatrical information please visit the Artisitic License website.
>>2/2001 SOUND AND FURY nominated for 73rd Academy Awards for Best Documentary!
>>12/2000 SOUND AND FURY
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