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Gennet: the University Deafblind Woman at the Cinema

Sometimes the life of a Deaf person is interesting enough in itself to catch the cinema world's attention, as happened with Geeta, a Deaf girl from India who for ten years was stuck in Pakistan, who didn't know where she came from and who inspired a film. The same is true for Gennet Corcuera, the first woman deaf-blind from birth to receive a Bachelor's Degree in Europe.

Cartel de la película documental Me llamo Gennet

Who is Gennet Corcuera?

Gennet was born in the 1980s in a small Ethiopian village at a time when it was ravaged by a huge famine. Gennet was born deaf and with almost no vision, so her chances of survival were even lower.

The family is unable to care for Gennet, leaving her at the age of three in an orphanage cared by nuns. Carmen Corcuera, a Spanish mother-in-law of the Spanish ambassador in Ethiopia, arrives there. Finally Carmen adopts Gennet and stays in Ethiopia to continue her education.

Gennet Corcuera (foto: Fernando Sánchez Alonso / El País)

When Gennet falls ill at the age of 7, her adoptive mother decided to bring her to Spain, where she recovered and continued her education. In the university entrance exams Gennet obtains a score of 7.2 (about 10) and can access university studies in Special Education. She finishes her studies and thus becomes the first deaf-blind woman from birth in Europe to achieve an University Degree.

Gennet is currently 37 years old and works in the only residence in Spain specialized in the care and education of deaf-blind people in Seville. She has become a point of reference for deaf-blind people from birth all over the world, such as the American Helen Keller and the French Marie Heurtin.

The biopic: My Name Is Gennet

Gennet's life has been taken to the cinema with a biographical film titled "Me llamo Gennet" directed by Miguel Ángel Tobías, produced in 2018 and released in cinemas in 2019. The synopsis of the film is as follows:
The young Gennet Corcuera begins a new stage of her life in which for the first time she lives alone and independent, working as a teacher. Preparing an upcoming conference, he tries to gather and give written form to his special memories: the fleeting visions of his native Ethiopia during the terrible famine of 1984 (where he caught the attention and care of Carmen Corcuera, mother-in-law of the Spanish ambassador in Addis Ababa , who, to get his adoption, spent two years working in the reception center where Gennet was abandoned); her difficult process of integration and learning in a world where there was no place for people like her; memories fading away in Carmen's memory; and the great achievement of becoming the first European Deafblind person to get a university degree.
This is the trailer of the film (English and Spanish subtitles):


Director and producer Miguel Ángel Tobías heard about Gennet's story in the news and immediately knew he wanted to make a film about her:
I heard about Gennet's story about five years ago, through the news, when he graduated. I realized that if it wasn't me it would be someone else, but I knew that this girl had a movie and wanted to make it

Gennet Corcuera with the director of the film Miguel Ángel Tobías (photo: Miguel Ángel Tobías)

Curiosities about the film

  • In the film there are four actresses who play Gennet throughout his childhood and youth. At the director's request, all four are orphans and Ethiopians in order to make the film more realistic.
  • Gennet's mother during the film is played by Miriam Díaz Aroca who, curiously, is one of the few actresses in Spain who has played a role in sign language in cinema with the film High Wheels.
  • Gennet agreed to make a biographical film about his life to make deaf-blind people visible and in honor of his mother Carmen who passed away shortly after Gennet achieved her college degree.



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