Not Just Words

Two Spanish speakers share their experiences living in Toronto while facing prejudice based on their accents.

Roberto is a singer and actor from Mexico. Elena is an accountant and mother from Peru. They share their experiences moving to Toronto and navigating a new language in a new place. Accent researcher Vijay explains how people’s perceptions of others are impacted by how we speak.

  • Stephanie Cowan
  • Stephanie Cowan
  • Stanford Gough
  • Alex Rocio
    Director of Photography
  • Stephanie Cowan
  • Makeel Williams
  • Stanford Gough
    Sound Recordist
  • Stefan Tomasi
    Sound Assistant
  • Arjun
    First Assistant Camera
  • Makeel Williams
    Digital Information Technician
  • Vijay Ramjattan
    Key Cast
  • Roberto Valdez
    Key Cast
  • Jazz Kular
    Key Cast
  • Sarah Addo
    Key Cast
  • Reza Fatima
    Key Cast
  • Elena Calderon
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 19, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    745 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Spanish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Humber College
Director Biography - Stephanie Cowan

Stephanie Cowan is a 24-year-old Toronto-based filmmaker who has produced several independent short film projects alongside her work as a videographer. The short documentary “Not Just Words” is her directorial debut working with a crew at Humber College. Stephanie previously studied linguistics at Western University and enjoys combining her passions in her work. She hopes to further explore work in cinematography, editing, and script supervising.

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Director Statement

‘Not Just Words’ merges writer/director Stephanie Cowan’s passions for film and language. The film introduces ideas about linguistic prejudice through the personal stories of two Spanish-speakers living in Toronto. People’s attitudes towards accents are often reflective of other prejudices, as discussed by linguist Vijay Ramjattan, whose research focuses on accents, language, and race.