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In this award-winning film, a timid and withdrawn Zacharias seeks to join a black Baptist choir despite his deafness, drawn to a community with which he seems to have little in common. Zacharias perseveres against his insecurities, impairment, and difference in culture, attempting to find peace in achieving something he desperately desires, a place of acceptance and belonging. "Silent Notes" explores the navigation of two worlds through music and culture.

Director's Statement:

Living on the Upper Westside of Manhattan, I often walked by Central Baptist Church and always found myself attracted to the sounds of a soulful gospel choir emanating from the interior and by church members overflowing onto the sidewalk, filling tables with baked goods and craft sales and, most of all, neighborliness. For me, the most tangible bridge from my world to theirs was music, and I imagined my main character, Zacharias, a white, studious, young man, drawn to the music of the church despite his deafness, determined to find a place for himself in the community that produces it, whose culture is so different from his own. Music weaved within the film demonstrates the power it plays. It equalizes. It stirs. It creates motivation or conjures raw emotion. In the case of "Silent Notes," it merges differences, and such was the case for my lead character, Zacharias.

To cast the lead, I looked to the deaf acting community, recognizing their limited opportunities for film roles and seeking authenticity for the character, and was fortunate to attract the talents of an up-and-coming actor who was attracted to the challenge of the role, having never before sung in public.
Kiki Tsakalakis
Kiki Tsakalakis
11 Minutes
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