Image Credit: ‘Signs Of Love’ – ‘Boys On Film 16: Possession,’ Peccadillo Pictures

This week, April 15 – 21, marks National Deaf LGBTQ+ Awareness Week, a project launch by the Deaf Queer Resource Center to uplift, support, and bring greater visibility to these multiply marginalized communities. Every day this week, Queerty will be spotlighting a short film that focuses on deaf, queer characters—all of which you can watch right now.

In 2016, queer theater heartthrob Andrew Keenan-Bolger jumped behind the camera to direct his first short film, collaborating with writer-composer Adam Wachter to tell a story the would both portray an under-explored human experience and spotlight their friends in the New York theater community.

The final result is the romantic drama Sign, which focuses on a universal relationship story of meet-cutes and heart-aches, first dates and fights, and everything in between.

Aaron (Wonderstruck‘s John McGinty) and Ben (The Strangers: Prey At Night‘s Preston Sadleir) are two men living and working in New York City. Aaron is deaf, Ben is not. Though they lead separate lives, the frequently cross paths at the same subway station.

Image Credit: ‘Signs Of Love’ – ‘Boys On Film 16: Possession,’ Peccadillo Pictures

Eventually, after enough stolen glances, Ben works up the courage to say hello to Aaron, only realizing his crush is deaf when Aaron uses sign language to say hello back. Next thing you know, the two are out to dinner together for their first date which, despite a few communication stumbles, goes very well.

From there on out, we watch the ups and downs of their romance through a series of vignettes. The two exchange flirty texts, more dates across the city, and bedroom flings. Ben rather quickly takes it upon himself to learn ASL as best he can. Later on, they’re moving in together and meeting parents.

But things aren’t perfect. We also see glimpses of how both men can feel lonely and isolated in certain settings. And, just like in any relationship, failure to communicate leads to arguments which lead to…

Well, we won’t give too much more away!

Image Credit: ‘Signs Of Love’ – ‘Boys On Film 16: Possession,’ Peccadillo Pictures

Subtitled “A Silent Film,” Sign actually plays out completely free of dialogue—there aren’t even subtitles, so if you don’t know ASL, you might not exactly catch what our characters are saying to one another. Ultimately, it’s a choice that sends a powerful message about just how much can be communicated without the spoken word.

Instead, we learn all we need through McGinty and Sadleir’s emotive performances, and through lively original scoring from the talented Wachter, who has composed for a number of projects for theater, film, and television, including serving as the musical director for Disney+’s heartwarming high school musical reality series, Encore!

After an initial premiere at Outfest in Los Angeles, followed by a number of queer film festival screenings, Sign was acquired as part of the 16th edition of the Boys On Film shorts anthology, where it was retitled Signs Of Love.

The 15-minute short Sign / Signs Of Love is available to watch for free on YouTube, courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures, the indie queer distributor behind the Boys On Film series. Check it out below:

And, for more ways to help support, celebrate and participate in #DeafLGBTQWeek, head to the website for the Deaf Queer Resource Center.

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated