Private Project

A Visual Meditation on Natural Gestures

Filmed during a period of civic unrest and the Covid-19 pandemic, a Deaf woman takes a meditative journey through America and discovers universal gestures within the natural environment that brings her peace, humor, and awe.

  • Willy Conley
  • Willy Conley
  • Willy Conley
  • Ingrid Conley
    Key Cast
    "The Universal Gesturer"
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Other
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 9 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 9, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    No Dialogue
  • Shooting Format:
    Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Seattle Deaf Film Festival
    Seattle, Washington
    United States
    April 8, 2022
    North American Premiere
    Best Experimental
  • Milwaukee Illuminate Film Festival
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    United States
    December 16, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Together! 2012 Disability Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    December 2, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Willy Conley

Willy Conley is an award-winning, published photographer and writer who received a B.S. degree in Biomedical Photographic Communication from Rochester Institute of Technology. Later, he received an M.A. degree in Creative Writing/Playwriting from Boston University under Nobel laureate, Derek Walcott. He also received an MFA degree in Interdisciplinary/Intercultural Theatre from Towson University. He is the author of the books Photographic Memories: Selected Essays, Playlets, and Stories, Plays of Our Own – An Anthology of Scripts by Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Writers, Visual-Gestural Communication: A Workbook in Nonverbal Expression and Reception, The World of White Water – Poems, Listening Through the Bone – Collected Poems, The Deaf Heart – A Novel, Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays, and Broken Spokes – A Play in Seven Scenes. Born profoundly deaf, Conley is a retired professor emeritus and chairperson of Theatre Arts at Gallaudet University (the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students) in Washington, D.C. His first film, A Visual Meditation in Natural Gestures, won Best Experimental prize at the 2022 Seattle Deaf Film Festival and Best Short Short at the 2023 Milwaukee Illuminate Film Festival.

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Director Statement

This film is an exploration in universal gestures within our natural environment and discovering peace, humor, and awe during these uncertain times. Hopefully, a Deaf audience will enjoy and appreciate the film’s meditative nature – something difficult to do with audio recordings on meditation. And, at the same time, a hearing audience will be inspired by the beauty and ease of creating natural gestures, which is the foundation of most sign languages around the world. One possible modern take on all this is a visual ASMR effect.