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Oscar winner CODA a point of pride at RIT/NTID

Denise Kavin NTID
www.rit.edu
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RIT/NTID
Denise Kavin, an assistant dean at RIT/NTID.

The movie CODA was a big winner in Sunday night’s Academy Awards, taking home Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

The film and its recognition is especially important to Rochester’s large Deaf community.

CODA is a term used to describe the hearing children of deaf adults, and it’s one that Denise Kavin, an assistant dean at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, is quite familiar with. She not only teaches at NTID, she also is the mother of three CODA daughters, one who is 22 and twins who are 19.

Through an interpreter, Kavin said that this film “was a real proud moment for the Deaf community in our country. And not only for deaf people, but also for all the CODAs in our country and the theater community as well. It was a very proud moment.”

Kavin liked that the film showed people with varying abilities just working day to day to help their families.

“They can be loving, they certainly can have their struggles, they can have their quirks,” Kavin said. “It doesn’t matter if the parents have a disability or are deaf, it doesn’t matter. It’s still very much a family unit, so it was good for our nation to see that.”

While Kavin liked the movie, there were a few notes that didn’t ring quite true for her experience, including how dependent the deaf parents in the film were on their hearing daughter for various tasks.

“For example at doctor’s appointments, for work, for their business that they ran,” Kavin said. “But here in Rochester, New York, it is a very accessible community. So I never really have to depend on my girls to interpret. I would never dream of doing that.”

But overall, Kavin calls it a sweet, endearing movie. And it’s one that has connections to NTID, since Best Supporting Actor winner Troy Kotsur had been a member of NTID’s traveling theater group, Sunshine, and actor Daniel Durant, who was also in CODA, is a 2011 graduate of NTID.

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.