Home > Interview, Videos > Interview with Four Deaf Yorkshiremen Writer, Producer & Director

Interview with Four Deaf Yorkshiremen Writer, Producer & Director

May 26, 2008

“Four Deaf Yorkshiremen” DVD & two glossy photos of the Deaf Yorkshiremen

Charlie Swinbourne

By Bug

How a friendly character with a talent for Four Deaf Yorkshiremen became one of the biggest, funniest hits on the Web.

 Charlie Swinbourne? Who’s he? He is a director, writer, and producer of Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, how many of you watched his funny Deaf British film? See a free sample movie below….the actors use British Sign Language, exclusive subtitled preview of 10 minute Deaf short film.

Last week I contacted Charlie in United Kingdom and asked if I could interview him. He happily accepted to share about his experience with us about his films. He was raised in a Deaf enivornment, everyone in his family is Deaf but his father is Hard of hearing.  DVD is on sale for £11 ($22 to Americans), if you are interested in buying or need more information, contact Charlie at  director.charlie@googlemail.com

How many films did you make? when were they made? Why did you write them and did you win any awards?

I have made two films, Coming Out, which I created and wrote, and Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, which I directed as well as writing and producing.

Both films were released in 2007. Coming Out went on to win European awards in France and Finland, which was amazing, and gave me the confidence to make Four Deaf Yorkshiremen afterwards, directing for the first time!

Coming Out was written from the heart, about deaf identity, and it was something I felt I had to say about acceptance and truth. Four Deaf Yorkshiremen was more written for fun, I wanted the deaf community to have some comedy out there, on You Tube, for anyone to see at any time!

What is the hard part being as a film maker?

It takes a long time to make a film, first you need an idea, then a script, then filming, editing, releasing. Everything takes ages and filming is very slow!

When we made Four Deaf Yorkshiremen, we all worked for free and made no money at all, we made it because we were passionate about giving the film to the community. We released it on YouTube so everyone could see it, and we are all proud it has got over 60,000 views, which is remarkable, beyond our wildest dreams.

What was your first film?

Coming Out was my first film. It was funny because I had the idea three years ago, then it took three years for me to ask someone to make it, so it had been in my head for a long time before it got onto screen!

Are you producer, writer, and actor? How long?

I am a writer, director, and producer. I recently also wrote a play, called ‘Lipstick and Lollipops’ which is now touring the UK with a deaf theatre company, Deafinitely Theatre, you can see more information here: http://deafinitelytheatre.co.uk

Four Deaf Yorkshiremen’ is one of many interesting film. I assume that Yorkshire is a name of former county of northern England.

“Four Deaf Yorkshiremen’ is one of many interesting films. I assume that Yorkshire is a name of former county of northern England. Why did you pick the name as”Yorkshiremen” for your film?

The film is based on a classic comedy sketch called ‘Four Yorkshiremen’, which was performed by Monty Python, which made it very famous. This film was inspired by that sketch, so I just added ‘Deaf’ to the title, to show where the film first came from. The film is a new script for the deaf actors, focused on their deaf family, so it is original, but it has that original connection to something before, so the name shows that well.

More about Yorkshire, well, Yorkshire is a place in England which is in the north far from London. It’s a beautiful area with a lot of countryside, where there are honest northern people who are ‘straight talking’ and traditional, they have strong values and tell you exactly what they think! It’s a place which a lot of English people have fond memories or dreams of, hopefully we feel that in the film!

Is everyone in your films Deaf?

Yes the actors in Four Deaf Yorkshiremen were all deaf, there was also a deaf cameraman, deaf make up artist, and a deaf production company called Remark! helped us. So it was all very deaf! Coming Out had one hearing actor, who played the mother, most of the crew were also deaf.

Who are the actors in Four Deaf Yorkshiremen?

The four stars of Four Deaf Yorkshiremen are:

John Smith – a well known deaf comedian in the UK
Ilan Dwek – a well known deaf actor with credits in TV and theatre
Matt Kirby – deaf actor from deaf films and TV
Jonathan Reid – deaf director and actor

Are they from UK?

They are all English, I believe they all went to deaf school, I’m sure they did!

Are you Deaf? If so, how did you become Deaf? From Deaf family? Tell a little bit about yourself…

I am hard of hearing, I come from a deaf family, my mother is profoundly deaf, my father is hard of hearing. My two brothers are deaf as well. So we had a lot of deaf culture growing up. We were all born deaf and sign to each other in a way that we can understand!

How many and what languages do you know? (example, English, BSL, ASL, etc)

I know BSL and English, and I am terrible at German and French, I failed both at school! I couldn’t hear it very well!

Do you have the website ? If you sell the dvd, how much?

Website: http://deafinitelytheatre.co.uk/ 

We are selling the DVD for £11 ($22) to Americans, they can email director.charlie@googlemail.com to order a copy, thanks! The DVD has photo gallery, the film, trailers, deleted scenes and a DVD menu, plus two glossy photos of the men!

The important thing is we are not making a profit from the DVD! The DVD sale is to fund the second film in the series, which we think will be called ‘The Return of the Four Deaf Yorkshiremen’ or something like that!

Like our site?

I LOVE the site! It’s great to see how deaf Americans have built up an online community which I think we could do more in the UK. You have a sense of fun, which is great, and I admire what you have done – in fact, I’m honoured to be on the site!

Categories: Interview, Videos
  1. Billythegoat
    May 26, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Fabulous film! Thumbs Up!

  2. Mike
    May 26, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Great film! Good interview!

  3. BlueFlamesHD
    May 26, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I love that Four Deaf Yorkshiremen movie that I know! I sudden understand those making the film from UK. Of course I don’t know how to sign that british Sign language. Becuase I am from USA, I fleunt American Sign language. Oh well. Lucky I watch Four Deaf Yorkshiremen of the UK movie with subtitle english. Sound very wonderful drama/comedy movie.

    Fingers aka BlueFlamesHD

  4. flbigmouth
    June 8, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    AW,that film is soo soo soo cute! I love it! I laughed alot! I am going to have to purchase one. Thanks for sharing this Bug. You made my day!

    Bug, how did you come to know about this? When you did the interviewing, were you there to interviewed Charlie Swinbourne in person or VP or online?

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