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An Interview with Katie J. Redstar, Writer and Co-Director of I Need a Sign

by Mike Haberfelner

June 2018

Katie J. Redstar on (re)Search my Trash


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We've talked about this before [click here], but do bring us up to speed: Your new movie I Need a Sign - in a few words, what is it about?


The film is about the difficulties deaf and non verbal people/children face every day, and how sign language can be the most effective way of communicating.


Since I Need a Sign is a movie that must feel very personal to you, being based at least partly on your own experiences, what does it feel like bringing exactly this story to life?


Yes, I went deaf just before i was 3 years old, I learned to sign at 4. But every day has been a communication barrier, to be able to communicate effectively is a big thing for me. But also because of the nature of my deafness (not born or raised deaf), it's been a long challenge to find my true identity. It's only in the recent months I have accepted who I am.


What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to your story at hand?


Basically I was very relaxed because it all went to plan, yes I gave a couple directions on what I wanted, but mostly it all was very straightforward and the team did their magic. So I wasn't really needed to give directions and just went with the flow.


Do talk about your co-director and cinematographer Sebastian Roberts [Sebastian Roberts interview - click here], and what was your collaboration with him like?


The collaboration with Seb is absolutely fantastic, he's a professional, knew what I wanted, knew the best way of filming it, I learned a lot from Sebastian on the day. And would work with him again given the chance. I have a follow-on film from this in mind that is at the pre-production stage.


The central character of I Need a Sign, Jesse, is a young girl that only communicates via sign language - so how easy or hard was it to find the right actress for the part? And what was working with Imogen Clarkson like, especially in light of the W.C. Fields quote "never work with children or animals"?


Finding the actor/actress was extremely hard because I don't have much association with the deaf community, but not through choice. And everything I tried just wasnt working - then I came up with the idea, I could post just in local selling site even tho I wasn't selling. It had to be worth trying, within an hour of posting, BINGO, Imogen Clarkson's mum came forward and emailed me, and after a long discussion via email we agreed.


Working with Imogen was a fun filled day, and she is absolutely amazing, everyone adored working with her. She really will go far in the industry, Imogen remembered her lines and actions so well I couldn't fault her. Everyone absolutely smashed it, I am proud of everyone, I am proud of the outcome, and I know the film will go far because there's a gap in the industry.


Do talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?


Well where can I start, Sharon Spink [Sharon Spink interview - click here] is an amazing actress, she is who I had in mind when I wrote the script and was happy when she applied. Igor Naylor is a fab actor, I have personally worked with both of them, in different set-ups, and they just fit the profile that I was looking for. Sharon has been taking sign language classes with me, and it's just a perfect fit all round.


A few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


On the day of the shoot, nothing went to plan for me. Right from the min I got up, until I arrived on set was challenging, I did a monologue mash-up before I went, left plenty of time for the busses but unfortunately didn't turn up for over an hour. But I still made it in time. Only JUST. The day on set went plain sailing, so much easier than I thought (my first film, so I had no ideas behind the scenes), my dreams coming true I had to pinch myself on the day I was so happy and proud I couldn't ask for more from the cast and crew, it was so much fun with cast and crew, especially with Imogen entertaining us. Come the end of the filming I was absolutely shattered mentally and physically but so so happy as well.


The $64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?


Right now at this min, nowhere, but I am entering it into suitable festivals and so far it's been entered into 20, I am hoping that somewhere in those 20 it gets accepted in at least half. And makes its name big.

Have you heard of The Silent Child by Rachel Shenton? Well, my film is on a similar score but in a different way, I am fighting for sign language, deaf awareness every day and this film will help, hopefully encourage more people to learn to sign and unite together. We are 1 world, 1 human race, we should be helping and supporting one another and not excluding anyone because they are different.


Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of I Need a Sign yet?


It's to raise awareness of deafness, the effective communication of sign language vs spoken English. It's bold, it's powerful, it's mind blowing, it's visual and direct to the point.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


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Your shop for all things Thai

Yes, I have another pre-production and it's a follow on, based on cochlear implants and different hearing aids. And the society's perspectives - that's enough info on that at the min as it's still in the very early stages.


Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?


Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


I am also an sign language coach, and an actor, combine them are my passions.


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

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