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Budding Deafblind Filmmaker

12 July, 2023 Jane Colys Parents

Samira Cox is 22 years old and was born profoundly deaf. She was first implanted at 11
months old and had a second implant at 7 years old. At 10 she started having difficulty
seeing at night and was given a diagnosis of Usher syndrome. For those who are not aware
of Usher syndrome it is the leading genetic cause of deafblindness and with type 1 that she
has you are born profoundly deaf, have balance difficulties and develop the signs of retinitis
pigmentosa around the age of 10 years. Samira is now ‘legally blind’ but is still very
independent with getting about and still has great central vision.

Samira discovered her love of film making at a Hear For You (HFU) workshop when she was
in Year 10. She went on to make a short animated film on supporting deaf people and then
a film called Deaf Friends which won her Best Screenplay at the inaugural HFU Film
Festival. The following year her film entry for the HFU Film Festival was selected to be
shown in Hearing Australia outlets across the country! Samira was keen on furthering her
skills and started a TVET course in Year 12 in Screen and Media and continued onto further
study at TAFE in Screen and Media when she completed her HSC. She has also made short
films with animated characters for her Year 12 major artwork and during the Covid lockdown
for the Focus on Ability Film Festival.

Around this time there was a post in the Deaf Arts Facebook page looking for people
interested in a film project happening in Melbourne and this was the start of the My
Melbourne Project. Samira was invited to join an on-line team to develop film story ideas
around their experiences with disability and her idea was selected to be further developed as
part of an anthology of films on disability, race, gender and sexuality.

This film project pairs four high profile Indian Directors with emerging local filmmakers and
writers. Samira was thrilled to be selected as both a mentee screenwriter and mentee
director. Rima Das, who is one of India’s most prolific filmmakers, was the Mentor Director
for creating the short film on the theme of disability.

Samira was excited to have a character living with Usher syndrome portrayed in the film and
to include some of the day to day difficulties she faces. She was in Melbourne for 8 weeks
over February and March this year to complete the screenplay script and for shooting of the
film. This was a big adventure for her as she and her family have been living in the UK for
the past 2 years though they are returning to Australia shortly. Samira travelled back on her
own to be involved in finalising the script with Director Rima Das, casting the main actors
and for shooting of the film.

The My Melbourne Film Project will premiere at the 2024 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.