Winner 1997

In the Land of the Deaf

Les Filmes d`Ici, La Sept-Cinema, Centre European Cinematographique Rhone-Alpes

One principal benefit the proliferation of television distribution channels allows is the ability to bring outstanding programming from diverse sources to wider audiences. Such is the case with this remarkable French documentary feature, which takes viewers into the silent but exceedingly rich and diverse world of deaf language and culture. Filmmaker Nicolas Philibert takes the approach that signing is a visual language, with its own nuance, syntax, and structure, and that it is both similar to and vastly different from cinema. Combining observational and innovative camera technique, natural sound, and inspiring personal stories, we gain real insight into the daily lives and struggles of the deaf, who number an estimated 130 million people worldwide, including 20 million in the United States alone. Executive producer Serge LaLou, cameraman Frederic Labourasse, sound recordist Henri Maikoff, and editor Guy Lecorne deserve special mention for helping realize the unique vision of Mr. Philibert. The Independent Film Channel is likewise commended for its commitment to the presentation of such unusual and enlightening films as this to American audiences. For providing an illuminating and inspiring portrait of the world of the deaf, and for making that story available to a wider public, a Peabody is presented to In the Land of the Deaf.