SYDNEY // At just 13 years of age, Oscar Lynch is already on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a movie director.
The Year 7 student from Brisbane recently won top honours at the second annual Hear For You National Film Festival
hosted by Hear for You charity and supported by Australian Hearing, the nation’s leading hearing services provider.
Oscar’s short film, “A Teddy Bear’s Love Story,” tells the story of a boy’s friendship with his teddy bear—and the battle that ensues when an evil doll tries to get between them. The comedy won Best Director and Judges Choice awards at the premiere screening and red carpet event held in Sydney in August.
“I felt really proud and happy inside,” said Oscar. “I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to win any awards.”
The Best Film award went to Raymond Moreno, Jared Donaldson and Richard Moir for their film, “The Bus Stop.” Karen Nguyen, Samira Cox and India Cox won Best Screenplay for their film, “What Am I Missing.”
The festival was open to deaf and hard-of-hearing high school students from across the country. In addition to entering the festival, the youngsters were invited to take part in film making workshops led by professional filmmakers and Hear For You mentors.
For Oscar, who has been wearing cochlear implants since he was 10 months old, the competition and workshops helped him build new friendships and develop new skills, said his mum, Tina Carter.
“It’s given him really great confidence,” said Tina.
“I think he would have been OK if the content and workshops had been just for all-hearing kids, but I think Oscar does find some comfort in being around other deaf kids,” said Tina. “It just means that everything is going to be easier to access.”
The events and workshops hosted by Hear For You have helped Oscar establish a wider support network among his deaf and hard of hearing peers, Tina said.
“He goes to lots of Hear for You activities and listens to the mentors tell their stories of what it was like to grow up with hearing aids and having cochlear implants, so the older kids give advice to the younger kids and share their stories,” said Tina. “Oscar tells me he likes to be connected with deaf people ‘because they are like me.’” Hear for You provides this connection with other deaf kids and positive deaf adult role models. It is a fantastic program for teens.”
Oscar is fully bilingual—comfortable communicating in both English and Australian sign language (Auslan). He attends a mainstream high school where he has hearing and deaf friends alike. Everyone in his family, including his two younger sisters, have also learned to sign.
“It’s important that Oscar is bilingual-bicultural. This means that he can operate in the hearing world with speech and participate in the Deaf Community with Auslan equally,” said Tina.
Tina credited the information, counselling and support her family received from Australian Hearing audiologists early in Oscar’s life for helping her and her partner make the best decisions regarding early intervention and support for their son.
“The support from Australian Hearing in those early days really does help families to make good decisions,” said Tina. “They are highly skilled and well informed paediatric audiologists at Australian Hearing. I always have good things to say about them.”
Photos courtesy: Hear for You Film Festival