My upbringing in Barbados, Uganda, Kenya, England and NYC was all parts unique, in moments tough, and amazing. I was almost always the different one in the group; this made me acutely aware of places, people and experiences. As a child and teenager I became flawlessly adaptable and forcibly self-aware as we moved from tropical island, urban inner city, rural country village, highlands of East Africa, and bustling NYC. This life experience has been a foundation of my creative work.
SOFIE began to develop as I rode the subway from Washington Heights to Midtown in 2016. I sat with my headphones blasting, an aim of drowning out the roaring sound of the subway. Opposite me sat two deaf teenagers; they were excited, attracted, nervous and absorbed in each other. Every so often they paused to text or take a selfie, an excellent tactic for moving closer to each other. It was the beginning of a contemporary, teenage romance. I began to reflect on my own teenage experiences; sneaking out of the house, first love, first sexual encounter, troubles with my family. With these teenagers and the universal coming-of-age experience in mind, I wrote SOFIE.
My sound design for SOFIE is influenced by our leading actress, Martina Bell. Martina has been deaf from birth, she does not use a hearing aid, and has not been trained in lip reading. Martina and I discussed her experience of sound, she described being profoundly deaf, which means she can not hear anything at all. She can feel and sense extremely strong vibrations, in a place such as a nightclub.
Our use of silence and no subtitles is an artistic choice with an aim of bringing our audience closer to Sofie's experience, as a profoundly deaf teenager.
I am proud to have worked with an international and ethnically diverse cast and crew; with women in key positions of writer, director, editor, cinematographer, producer and executive producer.