“Vital Signs” Get to the Heart of ASL

“Vital Signs” Get to the Heart of ASL

Chad W. Taylor
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(877) 467-4877, Ext. 95678


“Vital Signs” Get to the Heart of ASL

Roseville, CA [August 22, 2006] – What would you do if your doctor said you only had a week to live?

And so begins the suspenseful film, “Vital Signs,” a short story about a man (Chad W. Taylor) who is told he has a terminal heart condition. Memorable scenes are shown alongside a storyteller (Roger Vass, Jr.), who provides an unforgettable narration in American Sign Language (ASL) of the man’s emotional journey.

Mösdeux decided, after receiving rave reviews about the film, to release the film on DVD. “We got such a tremendous response when we originally posted the film on our web site, and we decided it’d be even better if we could tailor the film towards people who are learning American Sign Language or towards young deaf or hearing students,” says Taylor, Mösdeux co-founder and producer. “This DVD is unique because it blends entertainment with education utilizing people who are fluent ASL users.”

“Even though the DVD is only four minutes, it leaves viewers thinking, ‘Whoa. That was deep.’ The film also leaves them with a greater appreciation of the beauty of ASL while providing a moral lesson,” says Wayne Betts, Jr., the other founder and producer of Mösdeux. “‘Vital Signs’ reveals how the mind of a deaf person functions during storytelling. Generally, a hearing person visualizes words in their head while telling a story in detail whereas a deaf person visualizes a scene involving the time of the day, space and emotions. We really worked hard to make the storyline as authentic as possible by using real-life situations, like a California highway at high speed, while preserving the language.” He points out that the scene where the main character is submerged into water was filmed at the third highest bridge in the United States, presenting unique filming challenges.

The four-minute DVD contains bonus features, including interviews with the producers discussing the film’s evolution. Another distinctive feature is devoted to classifier practice using the film. “The signs used by Roger are outstanding examples of what classifiers are, something that many ASL students and interpreters still struggle to master,” Taylor explains. “As deaf people and ASL users ourselves, we thought this experimental film would be the perfect opportunity to help people practice their classifiers by breaking down specific parts of the film into beginner, intermediate and advanced classifier sections.”

“Vital Signs” will appear on PBS as part of Hott Productions’ documentary, “History Through Deaf Eyes.” “When we were first asked to make this film, we thought, ‘Uh, an experimental film about what?’ We brainstormed for several hours, and finally came up with the idea of showing that ASL is a cinematic language,” Betts says. “Chad and I really believe that this film is ground-breaking because it illustrates a new generation of ASL and cinema. More importantly, ‘Vital Signs’ shows that ASL can be at the heart of cinema.”

To order “Vital Signs” for $9.95 or to see other clips produced by Mösdeux, visit http://www.mosdeux.com.

Mösdeux is an innovative film and advertisement production house, co-founded by Wayne Betts, Jr. and Chad W. Taylor. Mösdeux is dedicated to making high quality films that will bring deaf cinema to the next level. Their films include “Vital Signs” and “DeafHope,” and several shorts such as “You Must Not Quit.” To watch previews of Mösdeux’s films, visit www.mosdeux.com.

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