Marsden Park teen wins best film during Hearing Awareness Week

PROMOTING AWARENESS: Glenwood High School student Jared Donaldson, who is deaf, took the best film award at the Hear For You Film Festival. Picture: Geoff Jones
PROMOTING AWARENESS: Glenwood High School student Jared Donaldson, who is deaf, took the best film award at the Hear For You Film Festival. Picture: Geoff Jones

Jared Donaldson, 14, has turned the lens on the social and personal challenges of being a deaf teenager. 

Jared, of Marsden Park, was born with moderate hearing loss and has required hearing aids since he was six-weeks-old.

But that hasn’t stopped him, with his short film Can You Hear Me? taking the top spot at the Hear For You Film Festival, which was held during Hearing Awareness Week last month. 

Hear For You is an not-for-profit organisation that runs workshops for deaf and hard of hearing teenagers across the country.  

“We took a bunch of the same shots and then we put it together with software. It’s about promoting deaf awareness,” Jared said.  

Jared attended a two-day workshop run by the organisation to learn how to shoot and edit films. 

Jared’s short film depicts a deaf teenager who is bullied for his impairment before overcoming it by reminding his bully that she isn’t perfect and then he pulls out his hearing aids. 

“I am feeling really good and excited,” Jared said. “I actually didn’t believe it when I first found out.”

Mum Nicole praised the organisation’s workshops as a way of raising awareness for deaf teenagers.

“Deaf teens struggle. It’s hard enough being a teenager these days and when they have the hearing loss on top, it’s harder for learning and social skills,” Ms Donaldson said. 

This film festival gives the teenagers a chance to say we can do something better and create some short videos that can be shared and explain their experiences.

“We are very proud. It’s something for Jared that really boosts his self-esteem because he can do many things but sometimes he doesn’t have the confidence so this is great.”

The film festival, which is part of the Hear For You Rock My World program, was led by NSW programs manager John Lui and professional film-maker Pauline Findlay.

Hear For You’s founder Olivia Andersen, who has profound hearing loss, said the film festival provided deaf teenagers a platform of expression. “All five films bring emotion, feelings, and share a reality of life through the eyes of a deaf teenager,” Ms Andersen said. 

  • Details: hearforyou.com.au.