Synopsis: In a small, nondescript high school, a new student arrives. As the students bustle around talkatively, the teacher quiets them down to introduce the new arrival. His name is Sam, and he is deaf.
Artist Statement: This animation short follows Sam, a deaf student, as he is mainstreamed into a new school, revealing the challenges he faces trying to make new friends. This is particularly difficult because those friends have never met someone like Sam and don't know ASL. Explore the anxieties, heartbreaks, and friendships that Sam experiences in Sign.
The concept behind Sign started back in early high school. I wanted to make a completely silent animation with ASL being the only form of dialogue on screen. The idea was to make a film that deaf people could easily access, but hearing folks would have a harder time experiencing, since they would need to read subtitles, simulating the discomfort that deaf people may feel in the hearing world. As I started molding this idea this past year, I decided that sound could actually play an important part to those who are of hearing, to express to them the challenges and obstacles of being deaf. Sign also shows how a small gesture can go a long way to show someone they are important and matter to you. Being disabled myself, it was important to me to create a piece to express how just one kind gesture of showing that someone has made to understand you, makes you feel welcomed, safe, and loved.
Shay is an animator from Woodstock, Connecticut. He will receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Media & Design with a concentration in 3D Animation and a Minor in Studio Art in May 2020. Shay creates 3D, 2D, and Stop Motion animations that are story-driven and express emotions through the plot. He began his artistic passion at a very young age, and has pursued many different avenues of fine art, but truly found a passion in animation. Shay always starts his ideation process with a strong emotion that he wishes to convey and evolves from there. His work tends to focus on bringing to light issues that the "normal" viewer may not have experienced, such as disabilities and LGBTQ+ issues, and makes an enjoyable experience that will move the viewers emotionally.