Maine Deaf Film Festival: Movies focus on four deaf artists, foiled Christmas thieves and a clash between student and professor | Encore The University of Southern Maine’s ninth annual Maine Deaf Film Festival, showcasing innovation and creative talent within the realm of film and video created by the deaf community, will be held April 8-9. The goal of the student-run event, put on by the school's American Sign Language Club, is to provide a platform for people to learn about, appreciate and celebrate deaf culture, issues and art. All selected films are written, produced, created and performed by deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and film production companies. For the first time, three filmmakers will give presentations following screenings of their respective films. The festival will run from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8, and from 1 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 9. The following schedule is subject to change: * Friday evening, April 8 WHAT: PG-13 selections; featured film: “See What I’m Saying” WHEN: 7 to 9:30 p.m. GUEST SPEAKER: Director and film producer Hilari Scarlm “See What I’m Saying” focuses on four deaf entertainers – actor Robert DeMayo, singer TL Forsberg, Beethoven’s Nightmare drummer Bob Hiltermann and comic CJ Jones – over the course of one year as they endeavor to cross over into mainstream audiences. Bob, a drummer in the world’s only deaf rock band, Beethoven’s Nightmare, produces the largest show in the band’s 30-year history; CJ, an internationally renowned comic in the deaf world, but virtually unknown to hearing audiences, fights to produce the first international sign language theater festival in Los Angeles; Robert, a brilliant actor who teaches at Juilliard, struggles to survive when he becomes homeless while living with HIV; and TL, a hard-of-hearing singer finds herself caught between the hearing and deaf communities when she attracts her first major producer to record her first CD, “Not Deaf Enough.” The 90-minute film is is the first open-captioned commercial film in American history. For more, visit See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary | Official Movie Site. *Saturday afternoon, April 9 WHAT: G and PG-13 selections; featured film: “Catch Santa” WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. GUEST SPEAKER: Filmmaker Kamau Buchanan “Catch Santa” is a 27-minute comedy written and directed by Buchanan, a deaf man with a master's degree from the School of Film and Animation at Rochester Institute of Technology. It was his thesis project. The film is about robbers who steal Christmas gifts from the homes of deaf people and how they are foiled. A reception for all ticketholders, with refreshments served, will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Woodbury Campus Center Amphitheater. *Saturday evening, April 9 WHAT: PG-13 and more mature selections; featured films: “Beyond Essays,” “Deaf Man,” “Our Song” and “Raw” WHEN: 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. GUEST SPEAKER: Director and film writer Julia Dameron In “Beyond Essays," a student tries to get a passing grade, in spite of her malicious adversary, her English professor, who only cares about winning a Distinguished Faculty of the Year award. All screenings will be in Talbot/Luther Bonney Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the door. They are $5 for Friday; $8 for half-day or $14 for full day on Saturday, general admission. Seniors, non-USM students and children pay $5 for half-day, $10 for full day. ASL/English interpreting will be available. Parking is available on in the Woodbury Campus Center student ground lot.