The 2014 Honorary Chair of the Beloit International Film Festival will bring a new dimension to the understanding of film with a silent message that few will forget.
Mark Wood, director, producer, and owner of ASL Films will serve as this year’s Honorary Chair and will welcome audiences and speak at a number of venues in the region during his six day visit to BIFF. In addition, his newest film, In the Can, will be shown in BIFF’s unique BIFF for the Deaf series.
About Mark Wood
Born deaf into a deaf family, Wood grew up loving to tell stories in American Sign Language (ASL). He combined this love with a passion for acting at the California School for the Deaf which eventually led him to his directing and producing career. In addition to having produced numerous full-length feature films, he has a background in stage production and direction. His film, Gerald, was honored as the best feature film at the World Deaf Cinema Film awards, Today, Mark, who resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and son, is seeking to be recognized as a mainstream film producer who produces films in ASL.
He is currently working on his tenth film which is based on the true story of the protest mounted by students at Gallaudet University, a world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students in Washington, D.C. In 1988 students demanded deaf leadership for the institution in a movement called “Deaf President Now” or “DPN.” He is currently working with DPN leaders and is hoping to release the film in 2015 or 2016.
According to BIFF Executive Director Roddie Beaudoin, “The Beloit International Film Festival has always offered films to engage our entire community—all ages and backgrounds. With Mark’s involvement, we hope to expand the understanding of this growing world of films for the deaf. He will visit local schools, Beloit College and the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delevan and will also be available to speak to area organizations during his visit, Feb. 18-23.
“BIFF has been fortunate to be able to offer the BIFF for the Deaf program for several years. This program has been made possible by the generous support of the Southern Wisconsin Interpretation and Translation Service (SWITS) and its founder Saul Arteaga, a BIFF board member. SWITS will be providing ASL interpreters during Mark’s visit.”
Past Honorary Chairs
The Honorary Chair of the Festival each year assists in introducing films, and in the education programs and at receptions for donors and friends. Filling this role over the years have been major producers like Steven McEveety (Braveheart, Passion of the Christ), David Zucker (Airplane!, Naked Gun), and Gregory Lamberson, internationally celebrated creator of horror films, independent film makers such as CK Lichtenstein and Jack Bennett, famed jewelry designer and filmmaker Robert Lee Morris, and up-and-coming young actor Bobby Coleman (Snowmen). “They add a special excitement and spirit to BIFF, and this year’s chair will be a significant addition,” Beaudoin adds.
The Beloit International Film Festival, celebrating its ninth year, is sponsored by the Hendricks Group and is presented in association with Beloit College. Support for the Festival comes from area businesses and civic organizations and from Visit Beloit. Individual support for BIFF is provided through memberships in the BIFF Founders and the Film Society of Beloit.