The world changes for a curious deaf boy when he meets a living statue.

  • Jack O'Donnell
  • Jack O'Donnell
  • Toni Gordon
  • Simon Ryan
  • Patricia Hetherington
  • Simon Ryan
  • Nicola Clements
  • Tessa Sherlock
  • Rahui Lee
    Key Cast
  • Kirsty Bruce
    Key Cast
  • Alex Greig
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    drama, art, sign language, deaf
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 2 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    New Zealand
  • Country of Filming:
    New Zealand
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Maine Deaf Film Festival
    Portland, Maine
    April 26, 2014
    World Premiere, North American Premiere
  • Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    August 10, 2014
  • CINEDEAF Film Festival
    Rome, Italy
    June 6, 2015
    European Premiere
  • New Zealand Deaf Short Film Festival
    New Zealand
    September 4, 2015
    New Zealand premiere
  • Seattle Deaf Film Festival
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    April 1, 2016
Director Biography - Jack O'Donnell

'Copper' is the tenth film directed by Jack O'Donnell. Having self-taught himself how to make films since age twelve, he slowly built his skills up over a number of years. He is also a theatre director, having directed shows at Bats theatre in Wellington, NZ, and the Wellington Town Hall. He works extensively with the Deaf community in theatre and film, and is currently in post-production on a feature length documentary about Odd Socks Productions, a Deaf / hearing theatre company that O'Donnell was one of the founding members of in 2008.

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Director Statement

I originally developed Copper as a concept depicting the unique relationship between a living statue and their interactive spectator. Once I met Rahui Lee, a nine-year-old Deaf boy, I was convinced he would be perfect for the role of the child observer in this film. It therefore seemed logical to bring in to the script some of the social issues surrounding the acceptance of Deaf people when they are born into New Zealand families.

Through strong visuals I used the filmic medium to help an audience understand what it is like to be Deaf, and also the fear and wonder one can have when approaching a Living Statue. With these two ideas, a main theme of communication, or lack thereof, became apparent. Deaf people have described watching hearing people speak as being like “chewing gum”, because they cannot comprehend what they are saying. We tried to emulate this through the soundtrack, by having periods of silence where we can only see what the hearing characters are saying, not hear. We also utilised NZ Sign to show what a beautiful language it is they communicate through.

By having three juxtaposing main characters in our story, therefore, we have tried to grasp the realities of how Deaf people grow up, how they can overcome their problems, and how they can bring families together. It has been a great privilege to direct this distinctive film and hope that its message and themes comes across to audiences.