Johnny Robinson

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"Visual Lyrics" is a 40 minute documentary video about ASL interpreting for performing arts. It considers the perspectives of all those associated with stage interpreting. The film reveals performance interpreting as an art form in it's own right.

The documentary was shot over a 2 year period at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival near Hillsdale, NY. The festival has had a team of interpreters for more than 15 years and has come to attract a small community of Deaf patrons.

This Event was captured by Johnny Robinson from Rochester Institute of Technology, assisted by a student crew. Multiple cameras captured ASL interpreters on stage, with the performers in the background. Four interpreters are followed as they interpret a variety of music, poetry & storytelling. Interviews with those interpreters reveal the incredibly arduous task of processing, on the fly, poetic content from one syntactical structure to another. Deaf patrons, using ASL,  articulately express their experience and opinions. Musicians discuss their fascinating perspective on sharing the stage with interpreters.

All spoken commentary is open captioned for Deaf viewers and all on-screen ASL is voice interpreted for the Signing-Impaired. Johnny Robinson, is a Hearing professor at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) in Rochester, New York. RIT is also the home of NTID (the National Technical Institute for the Deaf). Johnny teamed up with RIT interpreter Jennifer M. Horak to make this film.

There is a second film consisting only of interpreted performances titled "Visual Lyrics Falcon Ridge". This performance film shot in 2003 is also 40 minutes; containing complete unedited songs by six Falcon Ridge interpreters.

Intro   |   About   |   Bios   |   Links   |   Trailer   |   Photos   |   Purchase DVD