In the film "You shall hear" (September 19, 8:15 p.m., ZDF), the deaf actor Benjamin Piwko (42) plays a father who is faced with a difficult decision:
Two-year-old Mila Ebert (Delia Pfeffer) is deaf. During an examination in the hospital, it is found that her auditory nerve is developed. With the insertion of a cochlear implant (hearing prosthesis) and appropriate support, she would have the chance of a "normal" life. But Mila's parents, who are also deaf - Simon and Conny Ebert (Anne Zander, born 1988) - refuse an operation. They don't see Mila's hearing loss as an illness or disability. The hospital then turns on the youth welfare office and the case goes to court. Judge Jolanda Helbig (Claudia Michelsen, 53) must now decide whether Mila has a right to hear …
In an interview with the news agency spot on news, Benjamin Piwko explains how he would like viewers to react to the film. He also talks about the shooting, in which deaf and hearing filmmakers worked together.
Benjamin Piwko: I was approached a few years ago with this idea for the screenplay. I was very happy that this topic was filmed. I would like the television audience to deal with the subject of deafness. Because we are many. And it's important to open up to that.
Piwko: For me it doesn't matter whether it's deaf or deaf. I find it much more important that we deal with things like access to information, subtitles and being different.
Piwko: Every actor has to be able and allowed to act anything. In that case, I'm happy that Anne and I played it. Sign language is our mother tongue. It's in our blood.
Piwko: We had interpreters and prepared and tested a lot. But I can also get by on the set without an interpreter. I read lips and can work independently. In general, I see an increasing interest in sign language. That makes me very happy and connects, whether it's a "good morning" or a "bon appetit".
Piwko: I learned early on how to be independent. Of course there are situations in which I need help. For example, I can't make phone calls. When it comes to things like this, I need an ear to help me communicate quickly. I try to do as much as possible myself, but sometimes it's just not that easy.
Piwko: I recommend not being afraid. Just be as uninhibited as children are. We train the children from an early age to approach people openly and ask questions. It then says "come here, don't ask, don't look". I recommend the opposite: Let's break down these hurdles again.
Piwko: Like every technique that happens operationally, it involves risks. Therefore, this question is very difficult to answer. At the age of twelve, I was given the choice of whether I wanted a CI or not. I have decided against it. Everyone should be able to make this decision for themselves.
Piwko: You should talk to the deaf about it and start a conversation. There are many topics that concern us, too many to list here. But it's time to find out this time around and maybe film it too.