Award winning film by CapU grads demonstrates value of inclusive communication through Nigel Howard's story

Greater exposure to ASL in B.C. gives voice to the need for accessibility

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Tag(s): Fine & Applied Arts, News & Announcements

Nigel Howard in the film Who The Hell is Nigel?

In a time of social isolation and reduced contact, Nigel Howard has become an internationally recognized communicator for bringing dynamic emphasis to COVID-19 media briefings.

Since March of 2020, the captivating American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter has worked alongside Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix to broaden the reach of public health messages in British Columbia.

Photo of Cathy Bennett principal of BC school for the deaf

“Having a qualified Deaf interpreter on screen means I can access news updated comfortably without the language interfering,” Cathy Bennett, principal, B.C. School for the Deaf.

Howard is now the subject of a short film called Who the Hell is Nigel?, written and directed by Nigel Edwards, and produced by Sky Morfopoulos and Devan Francis together with cinematographer Brian Ceci – all graduates of Capilano University.

“It is a close, short look at the Deaf community here in Vancouver,” said Nigel Edwards. “We want people to take away something new, a new way of looking both at Deaf people and at inclusivity in general.”

With Howard as the focal point, the film illustrates the importance of inclusion. “Our hope with this film, was to raise awareness about the need for accessibility right from the start, not just for the Deaf community, but for all,” said Edwards.

The film, funded by TELUS and Creative BC, was completed in May 2021. It celebrated its Canadian premiere at the Lunenburg Film Festival in September 2021, and international premiere at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the United States, in November 2021. The film was released publicly on December 3, 2021 the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Two months later it won the Audience Choice Award at the Vancouver Short Film Festival. Earlier this month it was screened at the Short and Sweet Film Festival in Utah, and will be shown at the Seattle Deaf Film Festival in April.

Photo of Nigel Howard, ASL interpreter


Submitted by: Communications