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Film: Experience of Tinnitus, from Channel 4's The Shooting Party

The Shooting Party is a series (Sunday mornings) on Channel 4 which follows nine disabled directors.

Two of the participants are deaf:

Sam Dore is 30, profoundly deaf and uses BSL. He has worked in television on Channel 4's VEE-TV, and as a writer/director since 1999 with several short films to his name.He has also worked as a presenter and actor. His short film for The Shooting Party is a music video.

Zoe Cartwright is an art student and a keen photographer and traveller. She has chosen to make her film - - about her experience of tinnitus.

Its always good to see artistic expression. Zoe's film is online, and about tinnitus. Unfortunately there's no subtitles. However, if people wanted to watch, it does contain some English text and gets a bit more visual:

From the visual alone, I can see its well made. I was curious about the audio, and I'm told by a hearing friend, the film starts off as this:

"It's ironic that I can't hear anything, yet for the last 10 years... I've been (unclear) this (unclear sound (shreiking noise) (high pitched with cracking) You think I live in silence but I'm tired of this illusion.."

And so it goes on. They did not have time to translate all, but the the talking stops when the subtitles start, however, the tinnitus noises carry on. Does any of our hearing readers have time to translate this?

For those of you based in the UK, The Shooting Party is on Channel 4 on Sundays around 8.25am. Check the listings here for any time variations.

Note to Channel 4:
To promote diversity, especially a programme about diversity; you really should be subtitling your content.

Ask the Readers:
Do you know of any other films about the experience of tinnitus?

Comments (27)

Hello, thanks very much for mentioning The Shooting Party on your site. I'm Editorial Manager for Disability at Channel 4 and I'm responsible - along with Kate Vogel, commissioning editor in Documentaries - for commissioning this series. The entire 12-part series is of course subtitled as it goes to air on Sunday mornings (catch it later on C4+1 if you're not an early riser!), so all you need do is select subtitles when viewing. I appreciate that we don't have subtitles available yet on 4oD or our catch-up service on c4.com, but work is in progress to provide this on the new Kangaroo service and will follow on c4.com.
The lack of full subtitling on Zoe's short film wasn't due to a lack of time but mroe an artistic decision. We tried throughout the series to allow each filmmaker as much creative freedom as possible when directing their short films, and Zoe did not want her film subtitled throughout. Rather than speak for her, I'll see if she'd like to post a comment...

We tried throughout the series to allow each filmmaker as much creative freedom as possible when directing their short films, and Zoe did not want her film subtitled throughout.
Sorry, but I find this rather surprising. Rephrasing it, could we say "Zoe did not want her film to be accessible to deaf people"? Strange, especially as Zoe is deaf herself, if I am correct?


Thanks for your comments. I would just like to explain the narration in my film and then my choices for not subtitling my voice where I narrate.

Narration No 1 (EYES) - It's ironic that I can't hear anything, yet for the last ten years I have lived with this madness of sound. You think I live in silence and now I'm tired of this illusion you see.... I guess it's time to explain. (HALFWAY THROUGH THE NARRATION YOU WILL/WOULD HEAR SOUNDS OF TINNITUS HISSING WHIZZING BUZZING SOUNDS)

Narration No 2 (Falling into the water) - Diving deep down into the ocean took the last of what I had left of my hearing.....

Narration No 3 (Face appears on full screen) - (the sound of silence appears) ......Silence

Narration No 4 (leaving the chair) - it's what I crave most of all.........For silence was my solace.

First of all I'd just like to say I'm fully aware that not everything is crisp clear in my narration, however I feel strongly that my voice forms a part of my identity, if you miss certain things you can still jigsaw the story together and ideally you understand what is going on through the subtitles, the noise and the visual of the film. As I am completely deaf I understand the frustration of no subtitles, however it was in my view that "The Shooting Party" can be programmed to have subtitles which therefore explains what I'm saying to those who can't hear. To those who can I wanted to give part of my identity through my voice without translating what Im saying through writing. I understand that this will be a controversial opinion, however I made a decision based on how I wanted my film to come across artistically and how the story should be told to the best of my knowledge, without feeling like I am obligated to have sign language and subtitles throughout my film as the majority who watch the shooting party are not deaf, but for those who are the option is there to switch on subs (if this had not been the case without a doubt I would have put subtitles on). I have nothing against sign language and subtitles, however I do believe in freedom of choice as an individual. I have been brought up to lip-read all my life and Sam is the first guy I have ever met who is deaf so I guess I have no idea how strongly others will feel about my decision, but each to their own and I respect that you are entitled to your own opinion.

If you would like me to explain a little more about the noises feel free to ask as I will happily talk you through the film. As I worked with a sound designer I know exactly where the noises reach a climax or change from one thing to the next. With regards to 4oD I had assumed there would be an option of subtitles, but as Alison mentioned they are in the process of doing so.

Well I hope you guys can enjoy the film visually at least.

Zoe Cartwright.

Wow, long comment! So we have the option to switch them on... ah!! You mean on TV, right? Many thanks for explaining, Zoe, much appreciated.

Hi Jen,

Yeah just on TV, I'm just in trying to get a subtitled version of my film for this sight and a couple of others related to the deaf community. I'm known for my marathon e-mails as I type at a speed !

Zoe - it was an excellent film. I watched it with subtitles as I did record it. Plus since I wear hearing aids I hear the noise as well so in my case I got the best of both world ;-)

Jen - I do have the recording saved in its lovely digital MPEG2 format along with subtitles off C4. Just drop me an email if you'll like to watch it and I can send it your way.

I watched Matt's short film this weekend whilst lounging around on a lazy Sunday, and out of curiosity seeked out others online (and stumbled across this site as well as the C4 site). Zoe - your film is stunning. Absolutely stunning.

I got my tinnitus thru' nomming too many aspirin. It gets louder with age.

Your film was very eleoquent and I enjoyed the aqua scenes, brilliant;-)

Hello Zoe,

I think your film is a great window into the world of tinnitus.
I have been living with an absolute peircing screaming tinnitus for 14+ years.
Silence is something I crave so deeply too. I really feel the pain of T and think your film does a great job of expressing just how beastly T is. Unfortunately people who don't have it have no clue what it is like, how difficult it is and just how severely it can impact you psychologically. They feel that it is just our cross to bear. So sad they are.
I don't know you, but I love you for what you have done. Human to human.

Hello Michael,

Thanks for your touching message. It can be quite isolating trying to explain what is really going on, I never really talked about it for fear that people would think I'm just going mad and send me to the nut house! I guess that all changed somewhat when I made this film, and in a funny way it's nice to talk to others in the same boat. I'm sure most people would imagine just a few little sounds in a low volume, when the truth can be the polar opposite!

Thanks pete, Jen, John, JGJones for your lovely comments.



Hi Zoe, I watched your film a couple of weeks ago and really felt touched the whole way through. I have a dog and every time he barks I feel a bit closer than normal to nature, no matter how loud he gets. The world is way too fast for me to feel close to it and my dog (who doesn't live with me,family dog) brings me closer to where I want to be (happy). Big teeth dont scare me, the world going too fast does, I'm not deaf but I have been trying not to listen!

Hi again Zoe, I know I may not even get a reply to the last post it, but I thought if I did I would really like an autograph on a photo if possible. Also, do you know how to download your movie on to a computer, I know eventually when I want to look at it it will no longer be availiable, thanks, pat.

Hi Patrick,

Thanks for your kind message, I can see your love for dogs... I'm actually rather nervous when they bark so I don\t really know how I managed to go face to face like that!! But I'm glad u appreciated it. As for downloading the film, I'm not entirely sure but I do have the film on you tube, and brightcove if you want to try saving it from there? If you want to send me your address Ill post a pic of the film over with my autograph!

Thanks again,


My email address is patrickkcirtap@hotmail.co.uk, I can give you my postal address by email if thats ok, I was thrilled to see that you responded, can't wait to have your autograph.

If you use Firefox, you can use Download Helper to save video online (including from YouTube, etc) to your computer.

To play Flash (.flv) on your own computer, I suggest you use a standalone FLV player for your desktop, such as Wimpy.

The film is like a poem with pictures, you don't need to have hearing to appreciate it, anybody who paid attention to the whole thing can understand the message being put across. I noticed more meaning in the title today, "Tinitus-" means; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the past 10 years (while suffering from tinitus). It can't be something you get used to losing good hearing. Tinitus doesn't mean totally losing your hearing, it's the condition that affects it. Really bad tinitus must be painful which I guess is why the film has a somber mood to it.

I stumbled across this beautiful film here after being intrigued by the title, and really enjoyed it. The visuals are excellent and its message very touching. Upon seeing the story behind it on channel4, I see that Zoe is a wonderful and inspirational person too.

I just watched this one Channel4.

It was beautiful (:

Hope you are well, Laurie

Zoe and the chanel 4 team.
I just wanted to say what an insightful documentary that I have just witnessed on television.
I truly will never complain about the temporary noises ( that I would in the past refer to as tinitus until tonight) that I hear in the silence after finishing a gig with the band I am in.
And the way you portray your world in your film isinspiring
Than you for sharing your story

Zoe you are an inspiration shown through your film
I also have bilateral T and wear hearing aids you are
looking aT in the wrong perspective

you can be helped greatly by TRT visit the
tinnitus.org site contact Jacqui Sheldrake

Hi Zoe!

It has never really occured in my world about tinnitus or any disability until I watched shooting party. I work in the industry and think it's wonderful to have more films made from people of all different backgrounds.

All the best with your films I think your an amazing person and I wish everyone the best on the show in their film/television career. I hope you all make more films so people like me can be amazed, be entertained and learn more. That's what film is all about.


Dear Dj, Laurence, Chris and Eddie,

Cheers for your lovely comments guys, it really makes me smile :)

I'm intrigued about Eddie's message regarding "looking at it in the wrong perspective" - the film was not designed to bring out the violin strings or moan about tinnitus. It was simply about showing a different perspective walking around with a noise that can be dominating - which therefore feels surreal. I love my life, and I can honestly say I am happy - Tinnitus is just a slice of my life.

Thanks again.


Zoe - thank you so much for making this film.

I saw it at a friends house while we channel hopped, and had no idea what it was about - and truth be told, we found your voice funny, laughed and joked briefly about it, and then moved on. However...

I thought about it more though, and realised I didn't find it funny at all - and expect that the humour was probably to cover up my fear of losing hearing. So, I spent about an hour today trying to find this film, and am glad that I have.

I'm now ashamed of my first reaction, and very moved by this piece - and it has really made take a look and reflect at my feelings of deaf people.

Thank you once again, it was a very moving body of work, and I'm happy to know that you are coping with T and still enjoying your life!

Zoe, could you please let me know whether I couls see the actual documentary on the making of your short film online?
Please email at dimadogs@hotmail.com.
If you remember, I was handling George the dog for you during the shooting.
Many thanks.

I was so touched by your film. i wear hearing aids and have tinnitus constantly. After watching your film, my heart was so heavy for what you have to bear. I had trouble sleeping that night thinking about what you have to live with. I am so lucky that i can use masking to give me some peace from T. You have no escape. As I struggle to deal with my T , I think of you and wish you much peace and happiness. Thank you for your honesty about your life and your courage to show others what you experience. Heather Rivera, Huntington Beach, California

Zoe, Just caught your short film on C4 , very clever. Fortunately my hearing is good ,some times selective but good it does bring home your world a little more.

Best regards,


I have been watching your series of films on Channel 4:
'Subtitles Not Included: Stop, Look and Listen'. I found them profoundly thought provoking, especially in how they challenge prejudice towards deafness. Please keep making your wonderful films.
And by the way, your voice is beautiful.

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