Private Project

The Quietest Game

A high school football star inexplicably starts losing his hearing, and in order to continue playing he must go to an all-Deaf school.

Inspired by co-creator Matthew Kowalchuk’s real life experience of losing his hearing in high school.

  • Matthew Kowalchuk
    Lawrence & Holloman, The Janitors, Hearing Test, Penguins (are so sensitive to my needs)
  • Daniel Arnold
    Lawrence & Holloman, The Janitors, Inheritance
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Language:
    American Sign Language, English
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
Writer Biography - Matthew Kowalchuk, Daniel Arnold

MATTHEW KOWALCHUK - writer, producer

In 2018, Matthew launched Present Moment Pictures and produced Ragini Kapil’s debut film, ALL KINDS OF WEATHER (Best Short Film, Shakti Film Festival). Present Moment is currently developing the feature film MY LIFE AS A DIAMOND, based on the YA novel by Jenny Manzer, with executive producers Quadrant Motion Pictures. The company is also developing a 1hr crime drama with Studio BRB. Present Moment is committed to telling stories relevant to our here and now; visceral tales of the people who make up our world and our lives.

Previously, Matthew produced, directed, and co-wrote (with Daniel Arnold) the feature LAWRENCE & HOLLOMAN which won over a dozen awards including the Canadian Comedy Award for “Best Feature Film” before being released theatrically in North America, then on Super Channel, OutTV, and CBC Gem. He also directed the musical short BEDBUGS: A MUSICAL LOVE STORY, which has been shown around the world, winning numerous awards.

Since the age of 14, Matthew has lived with a profound hearing loss; and so was extremely proud to accept the Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture commission to make his ambitious live action-animation hybrid short PENGUINS (ARE SO SENSITIVE TO MY NEEDS), which premiered at their inaugural Wide Angle Media Festival. Matthew’s other films include the experimental and personal 16mm short HEARING TEST, and his debut, the 35mm short THE JANITORS (co-written/co-directed with Daniel Arnold), which was a recipient of the National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize and has been distributed worldwide by interFilm Berlin.

DANIEL ARNOLD - writer, producer

Daniel co-produced, co-wrote (with Matthew Kowalchuk) and starred in the feature film LAWRENCE & HOLLOMAN which was theatrically released in North America and won over a dozen awards including “Best Feature Film” at the Canadian Comedy Awards. He also conceived and executive produced the interactive docu-site WWW.MRSWARRENS.CA, and he co-wrote / co-directed (with Matthew Kowalchuk) the “NSI Drama Prize” winning short THE JANITORS starring William B Davis which was a Finalist at Hollywood Film Festival.

He has also co-written the feature screenplay ANY NIGHT, which won the Canada-wide $50K “Super Channel Screenplay Award” and is currently in development with Rachel Shane (Divergent, Lawless, 21 Bridges, My Spy). He co-wrote the short MAYOR MULLIGAN MAKES A MISTAKE which won “Best Writing” at Vancouver’s 24hr Film Festival. And he was hired by Autumn Films to write the horror feature THE MOVIE THEY MADE IN THE MANSION OF MURDER. Daniel is currently in the advanced level of UCLA’s TV Writing Program, in which he’s received top grades for his specs and original scripts.

For the stage, Daniel is the co-writer/performer and producer of three multi-award winning and published plays: TUESDAYS & SUNDAYS, ANY NIGHT, and INHERITANCE: A PICK-THE-PATH EXPERIENCE. Tuesdays & Sundays was also broadcast as a radio play by CBC (starring Daniel) and BBC (starring David Tennant), and Daniel performed Any Night for a critically acclaimed month-long run Off-Broadway. Inheritance won the Vancouver Jessie Award for "Outstanding Innovative & Immersive Storytelling" and is being produced as both an interactive audio-play and a feature film. Daniel is a protege co-recipient ($25,000) of "The Siminovitch Prize", and a Finalist for the $25,000 “Governor General’s Award for Drama”.

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Writer Statement

When I was 14 years old, I suddenly and inexplicably started to lose my hearing. There was no apparent reason, and the doctors refused to speculate. It was – and to this day remains – mysterious. All we knew for certain was that over a period of 3-4 months, I went from having normal hearing to waking up and seeing my mom’s lips moving, without hearing a sound.

As I entered my high school years, I gracefully took it in stride, some might have observed. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The next few years were very hard. Though I wouldn’t have admitted it back then. At school, I lived a dual existence. On one hand, I was involved in almost everything: school newspaper, lunchtime radio club, drama, and yes, football. I had a social life. (I had hearing aids by this point, but did not always choose to wear them.) My friends knew about my hearing, and so everything seemed great. But on the other hand, I quietly came and went to my classes, retaining almost nothing because not only could I not hear well but I would hide in the back row rather than letting the teachers know what I needed to succeed.

And here’s the thing. EVERYONE believed that I was doing fine, and therefore nothing changed. I learned how to get by in the hearing world with ‘profound’ hearing loss. It would be years before I had the opportunity to mingle with the deaf community in any meaningful way.

A large part of my survival in that time came from playing football. I was athletic, competitive, and I had a real aptitude for the game. And when I was on the field, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear. I was able to get by on visuals, and in a way, football got me through high school -- At least until I discovered theatre, but that’s another story...

The Quietest Game is my story … and not my story, at the same time. It is uniquely inspired by my real-life experience – even including divorced parents who blamed each other for what was clearly no one’s fault. But it’s also a story I wasn’t able to live. My struggle with my hearing over the years has truly been about feeling caught ‘in between worlds’. On one side, the hearing world and on the other, the deaf community. I’ve never felt like I truly belonged to either one. So this series is also, in part, a fantasy ‘what if’ version of my life, which asks the question:

What if I had a reason when I was a teenager to become a part of the deaf community?

- Matthew Kowalchuk