Anyone Like Me is a documentary project exploring the intersection of Deaf culture and America’s favorite pastime: football. The Gallaudet University Bison of Washington, D.C. are the world’s only collegiate deaf and hard of hearing football team. 90 percent of deaf and hard of hearing individuals are raised in families with no prior knowledge of American Sign Language or Deaf culture. This project follows coach Shelby Bean, 25, a Hard of Hearing man and former Bison team captain. Shelby, along with his players, say before they came to Gallaudet they shared the experience of marginalization for their perceived ‘disability,’ and sports was often the only place they ever felt normal. When Shelby came to Gallaudet as a freshman he didn’t know anything about Deaf culture or ASL, but through the football team he found his place within the culture and his Hard of Hearing identity.
Please enjoy excerpts from the project here, or visit the full website.
The film has been screened at DC Shorts, the Northern Virginia Reel Abilities Film Festival, the Smithsonian Institution's Mother Tongue Film Festival, the Emerge Film Festival, Montclair Film Festival, at the World Bank and International Finance Center, Putney Student Travels Pre-College Amherst program, Gallaudet University and at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design's 'NEXT' gallery. Photography (click to enlarge)
Washington City Paper, "Anyone who has seen a 30 for 30 knows that the best sports documentaries are about much more than what happens on the field: they tell stories that are personal and political, about entire countries or cultures. That’s certainly the case in Anyone Like Me, a doc that explores the complexities and facets of deaf culture through the biography of Shelby Bean, a Hard of Hearing player-turned-coach at Gallaudet University."
Washington Post, "What it’s like to be a player and coach for the country’s only deaf football team" (Inspired Life Blog)
We Are Moving Stories, "This film offers a unique glimpse into the Deaf community, which can be hard to access if you are Hearing and don’t understand the variances between Hearing and Deaf cultures. If you like football, are interested in watching people overcome stigmas about disabilities, and like a good love story then you will enjoy this film."
This project was completed as coursework with the M.A. New Media Photojournalism program at the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at the George Washington University. Special thanks to Shelby Bean, Katie Giles, Susan Sterner, Gabriela Bulisova, Bison Head Coach Chuck Goldstein & the Bison football team.