Apple CodaSource: Apple ("CODA")

What you need to know

  • A new movie, CODA is available Apple TV+.
  • The film's director hopes the title will pave the way for more stories from within the DEaf community and Deaf creators.

The director behind the new Apple TV+ movie CODA hopes the show will pave the way for more stories from within the Deaf Community and Deaf creators.

In an interview with CNET director Siân Heder said "the hope is that this just opens the door to more stories being told from within the Deaf community and by Deaf creators."

The feature also covers how the movie tried to stay true to its story and Deaf Culture:

Heder worked with two women, Anne Tomasetti and Alexandria Wailes, to help shape the movie's ASL and keep "Deaf eyes" on cultural authenticity. Credited as ASL Masters, their roles are also sometimes called directors of artistic sign language, a nod to how their job goes beyond simply monitoring a standardized language.

Breaking ground in cinemas as well as Apple TV+, the movie was the first theatrical release to feature "burned in" subtitles. The movie tells the story of a girl called Ruby, the sole hearing member of a deaf family:

But when Ruby joins her high school's choir club, she discovers a gift for singing and soon finds herself drawn to her duet partner Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). Encouraged by her enthusiastic, tough-love choirmaster (Eugenio Derbez) to apply to a prestigious music school, Ruby finds herself torn between the obligations she feels to her family and the pursuit of her own dreams.

According to the report, Heder had to work with the Motion Picture Association to help them understand how "the bluntness of the language" of ASL needed to be understood:

"Sign language, to be honest, is very graphic because it's visual," Heder said. "It's mortifying to have a sex talk with your parents in front of your crush. It becomes 10 times more mortifying when there's this cultural difference, where hearing people are very embarrassed, sometimes I think, by the bluntness of the language."

Voicing the word "ejaculation" in a movie wouldn't force the MPA to slap an R rating on a movie, Heder argued. Tomasetti said she helped explain to "the appalled MPA people that what Troy was signing was not visual profanity" but a normal way of describing a bodily function in ASL.

"That is just how we sign it in our language, but to them, it is perceived as 'too much,'" Tomasetti added.

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