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Hear and Now is a 2007 documentary film by Irene Taylor Brodsky, winning awards in 2007 at the Sundance Film Festival and the Heartland Film Festival; and garnering a Peabody Award in 2008.[1]

Hear and Now
Hear and Now 2007.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byIrene Taylor Brodsky
Produced bySara Bernstein
Irene Taylor Brodsky
Crofton Diack
Eve Epstein
Sheila Nevins
Written byIrene Taylor Brodsky
StarringPaul and Sally Taylor
Music byJoel Goodman
CinematographyIrene Taylor Brodsky
Crofton Diack
Edited byGeorg Bartz
Irene Taylor Brodsky
Distributed byHome Box Office (HBO)
Release date
  • 2007 (2007)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
American Sign Language



The filmmaker's parents were both born deaf; and the couple raised children who were not deaf. Paul Taylor and his wife Sally Taylor were in their 60s when they both decided to have cochlear implant surgery, which could permit them to hear for the first time.[2] The documentary follows what turns out to be a complicated journey from the comfortable world of silence to a profoundly challenging world of sounds and language.[3]

The documentary introduces the couple's personal histories – childhood years learning to communicate in a special school, experiencing the stigma surrounding deafness in mainstream high schools, and having meaningful careers in the Deaf community at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Paul was a pioneer in development of TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) which is also known as TTY.[2]

The couple's filmmaker daughter chronicled these surgeries and the aftermath. The film shows some of the short-term consequences, including both expected and unexpected adjustments each would need to make. These two deaf people investigate the sounds and meaning of sounds; but learning what not to hear becomes an equally significant challenge. The camera records quite different reactions as the couple struggles to adjust after living deaf for a lifetime.[2] The effects of the surgeries are not entirely positive.[4]

The film establishes cochlear implant surgery in an intimate family setting rather than the larger context of the Deaf community.[5]


This documentary was co-produced by Vermillion Films and HBO Documentary Films, which reduced the financial risks inherent in the project; and the film was distributed by HBO.[6]

Film festivalsEdit

Irene Taylor Brodsky, her parents, sister, and brother, along with others from Hear and Now at the 68th Annual Peabody Awards

In 2007, Hear and Now won the prize for the Best Documentary at the Heartland Film Festival.[7] At the Sundance Film Festival, the documentary won the Audience Award;[8] and it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Select list of festival entriesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 68th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2009.
  2. ^ a b c HBO/Hear and Now: synopsis
  3. ^ "Rochester Native Brings Her Famous Film Home to Benefit Deaf Students", NTID News. March 15, 2007.
  4. ^ Halbfinger, David M. "Coming to Sundance: New Crop of Engaged Indie Films", The New York Times. November 30, 2006.
  5. ^ Lowe, Justin. "Bottom Line: Lacks meaningful context about cochlear implants", The Hollywood Reporter. February 5, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Hear and Now Released on DVD." NTID News (National Technical Institute for the Deaf). October 21, 2009.
  7. ^ "Heartland Film Festival Announces Top Winners". 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2007-10-23.
  8. ^ a b "2007 Sundance Film Festival Archived 2007-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Heartland Film Festival: Crystal Heart Award
  10. ^ a b c Vermillion Pictures: News


External linksEdit