Amnesty International and the Cinematics of Sign Language


Amnesty International is an NGO founded in 1961 that advocates for human rights around the world. It is funded mainly by donations from its membership and does not apply for or receive grants from Governments. One of its main ways of working is through campaigns, such as the gathering of support signatures, advertising spots, etc.  In recent years they have turned social networks into one of their main allies.

In 2009, they launched a new campaign, "The Power of Your Voice", for the right to non-discrimination on the basis of race, sex or religion, to personal safety and to freedom of expression, among others. One of the campaign's spots featured Sign Language.

Logo from Amnesty International

A deaf person signs rigth to the camera and says how his voice has helped stop human rights abuses:

The cinematics of Sign Language

Amnesty International's video is a good example of the cinematics of Sign Language, that is, its ability to create the sensation of movement and visual rhythm in a narration.

One of the videos that best show this cinematics of Sign Language is a short film shot in 2005 in American Sign Language (ASL), titled Vital Signs and directed by Wayne Betts, Jr. who says about it:
Vital Signs shows that American Sign Language is a cinematic language. It reveals how the mind of a deaf person functions while telling a story, imagining scenery, time of day, movement of people, emotions, and using the tools of sign language to convey a full scene, not a word-by-word narration.
Here you have the short film:


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