Independent Lens: Deaf Jam

Independent Lens: Deaf Jam

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 10:00pm

Pictured: Aneta Brodski

Credit: Courtesy of Brian Geltner

Connect with a deaf New York City teen as she discovers American Sign Language poetry. 

Filmmaker Judy Lieff explores the beauty and power of American Sign Language (ASL) poetry in Deaf Jam, the story of deaf teen Aneta Brodski’s bold journey into the spoken word slam scene. Longing to explore and fully participate in the hearing world, Aneta dives into ASL poetry, a vibrant three-dimensional art form where body movements convey meaning. ASL poetry liberates a deaf poet from the confines of spoken language. There is no paper or text. Rhymes are measured in hand shapes and meter in movements. Images cut and dissolve as its verses transcend all spoken word. Deaf Jam airs on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11) Monday, January 7, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Introduced to ASL Poetry at the Lexington School for the Deaf, Aneta, an Israeli immigrant high school student living in New York, welcomes the chance to perform with “spoken word” poets. Passionate, fearless, and expressive, Aneta works hard at her craft and eventually meets Tahani Salah, a hearing Palestinian slam poet. The two young women embark on a collaboration, creating a pas de deux performance that transcends politics. Utilizing high-energy music, animated graphic text, and other innovative techniques, Deaf Jam illuminates ASL poetry’s extraordinary potency and power. Taking us inside a fascinating and vibrant world where self-expression and cultural identity are fiercely pursued, Deaf Jam may change the way we think about the non-hearing world forever.

To learn more about the film, visit the Deaf Jaminteractive companion website (, which features detailed information on the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.


Deaf Jam

Why is it scheduled during ungodly day and hour? (Deaf Jam). Especially here in Rochester where there is a large Deaf Community.

Independent Lens


Deaf Jam is part of the ongoing series Independent Lens - which is scheduled on WXXI-HD on Sunday nights following Masterpiece Theatre. Here is a list of other times you can see the episode:

WXXI-HD Sun, 11/06/2011 03:00:00 00:56:46

WXXI-World Wed, 11/09/2011 09:00:00 00:56:46
WXXI-World Wed, 11/09/2011 15:00:00 00:56:46
WXXI-World Wed, 11/09/2011 20:00:00 00:56:46

WXXI-World Thu, 11/10/2011 01:00:00 00:56:46
WXXI-World Sat, 11/12/2011 12:00:00 00:56:46

You are also welcome to record the program and watch it at a time that fits better in your schedule.

~Irene Fink
TV Program Director
WXXI Public Broadcasting