Competition Narrative Features
DIRECTED BY OREN KAPLAN
USA, 2010, 108 MIN
IN ASL AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
Dogged perseverance has rarely had as appealing a face as actor Russell Harvard (There Will Be Blood) gives it in HAMILL, the true-life story of mixed-martial-arts fighter Matt Hamill, a National Collegiate Wrestling champ born deaf and raised among the hearing, an outsider in both worlds. Hamill struggles with school, friends, girls, and his own gifts, but — encouraged by a stern but loving grandfather — he simply will not give up and eventually wins his matches right along with viewers’ hearts. Almost a foreign-language film, with subtitles interpreting American Sign Language, the movie makes unusual and effective use of sound to represent the deaf and hearing worlds, in ways both fascinating and occasionally annoying, much like Hamill himself. Born deaf, actor Harvard perfectly captures the grit and determination it takes to be a champ in any world. Winner in the Breakthrough category at the 2010 AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles.