Private Project

Deafening Darkness

A brave Deaf woman searching for her missing friend encounters a Deaf alien struggling to come to terms with his traumatic past.

  • Mark Trifunovic
  • Mark Trifunovic
  • Mark Trifunovic
    Busking Turf Wars
  • Candice Leigha
  • Ali Saeedi
  • Victoria Soo Lum
    Key Cast
  • Ali Saeedi
    Key Cast
  • Mark Trifunovic
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Psychological drama, horror, thriller, disability culture
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2017
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    American Sign Language, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Seattle Deaf Film Festival
    United States
    April 1, 2018
    World Premiere
    Best Thriller / Suspense
  • Reel Abilities Toronto Film Festival
    June 3, 2018
    Canadian Premiere
  • Horrible Imaginings Film Festival
    Santa Ana, CA
    United States
    September 2, 2018
    California Premiere
    Official Selection / Best Dramatic Short Nominee
  • Shanghai International Deaf Film Festival
    September 14, 2018
    Asian Premiere
    Official Selection / Best Hearing Ally Film Nominee / Best Actress (Victoria Soo Lum) Nominee
  • The Strength Within You International Film Festival

    United States
  • Portland Deaf Film Festival
    United States
  • Hamilton Film Festival
  • Deaffest
    United Kingdom
    UK Premiere
  • 1904 Deaf Film Festival
    United States
  • Tokyo International Deaf Film Festival
Director Biography - Mark Trifunovic

Mark Trifunovic is a filmmaker from Leeds, U.K., now living and working in Toronto, Canada.

Most recently, Mark wrote and directed Deafening Darkness, a Toronto Arts Council funded psychological drama/thriller, working with an all Deaf cast, that sought to address themes of isolation within the Deaf community while celebrating the richness and diversity of Deaf culture.

Mark's filmmaking career started in the U.K. working as a production assistant and assistant director on various music videos, short films, TV dramas, documentaries and feature films, during which time he was able to start making films of his own. He received support from Leeds' BAFTA award winner Kay Mellor to make his short horror film, DRIP, after working with her on a production in Leeds.

In 2015, Mark produced his first feature film, Busking Turf Wars, working closely with his younger brother Peter who co-wrote and directed the film. After a packed out premiere screening at Leeds' Hyde Park Picture House, Busking Turf Wars went on screen at film festivals in the USA, Canada and England, winning several awards including the coveted Audience Choice award at No Gloss Film Festival when it returned to screen in Leeds in October 2016. The film is now available to rent and purchase through VimeoOnDemand.

Alongside a number of shorter form projects, Mark is currently working on a treatment for a feature length film to once again work with members of the Deaf community.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Every filmmaker will tell you that each film they make poses a unique set of challenges. Deafening Darkness was no different.

Before meeting Ali Saeedi in 2015, I didn’t personally know anybody who was Deaf; I didn’t know any sign language, and I knew nothing about Deaf culture. When I met Ali, a Deaf Iranian actor with a love of films and a dream to make a horror movie, we had no way of communicating besides writing notes to each other on our phones. But there was clearly a will and a desire on both our parts to communicate, and to overcome whatever language barriers lay between us.

As we became friends, and I was introduced to various elements of Deaf culture, I began to realise that there was a community of people living here in Toronto that I knew almost nothing about. I knew nothing of their concerns, their desires, their struggles, or their victories. I knew nothing about their stories. And yet stories were abundant, and were being told in a way that I had never truly appreciated before.

I was given an opportunity to learn about Deaf culture through the unique lens of working with Deaf actors. I wanted collaboration and participation to be an integral part of the process, which I sought to create with focus groups from the Deaf community. And I wanted to create a feeling of inclusivity in the filmmaking process, from script to screen. I set out to make a film that addressed themes of isolation within the Deaf community, while also celebrating the richness and diversity of Deaf culture. The horror genre was an avenue to explore some much darker feelings relating to isolation and being misunderstood: frustration, anger and resentment. My intention was to juxtapose Deaf culture on Earth with what a civilization might look like if it was devoid of those rich and vibrant qualities.

My journey of making Deafening Darkness was beautiful, and incredibly humbling. Every bit as challenging as it was rewarding, I found the production to be a truly memorable learning experience. It was the first film I made after moving to Canada; it afforded an opportunity to work with a larger budget and considerably raise the production values from my previous films; and it was an opportunity to direct actors in a language different from my first. As I continue to learn ASL and understand the nuances and depths of Deaf culture, it is my hope that Deafening Darkness will be a vesile to share Deaf culture with the wider hearing audience, and to further the opportunities of some of the incredible Deaf talent I was fortunate enough to work with.