top of page

Our Mission

SignLight Inc., which launched the SignLight International Film Festival in 2024, is dedicated to building a powerhouse of quality training courses for professional development (to be announced soon), accessible for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing artists, technicians and filmmakers. Our goal is to share untold stories from the Deaf community, create job opportunities and build a strong network utilized by studios and production companies.

About Us

SignLight, Inc. is A 501(c)(3), the non-profit arm of SignWorld Studios (SWS), a Deaf-owned-and-operated production company which strives to reach out to the world’s 466 million Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community members and their friends, providing Sign Language entertainment programming for Deaf and hearing people alike, including native languages other than ASL. It is the mission of SWS to create and host meaningful, accessible, educational and entertaining Sign Language programming. 

Join us!

April 16-29, 2024

Hollywood, California

 

For the first time, Deaf filmmakers from around the globe will be gathered together in Hollywood, the center of the entertainment business, to showcase their work to the industry and to the Deaf community and allies worldwide at the inaugural, star-studded SignLight International Film Festival.

 

According to the National Deaf Center, 3.6% of the U.S. population, or 11 million people, are Deaf or have significant hearing difficulty. Worldwide, there are 466 million people with disabling hearing loss (World Health Organization), 70 million of whom use one or more of 200+ Sign Languages (World Federation of the Deaf).  

 

A 2022 study, conducted by a National Research Group in partnership with Deaf Theatre West, found that “63% of Deaf consumers say movies and shows that feature Deaf characters use negative images of the community,” while “76% of Deaf people believe that the way their community is portrayed in fiction influences how they are perceived in daily life, shaping attitudes and calcifying prejudices.”

 

Media is one of the most powerful tools to advance social change. Movies and television shows 

have been instrumental in transforming society. The increase of roles showcasing individuals 

who are LGBTQ+ has led to more acceptance and pride within society. These examples demonstrate 

the power to influence people as to how a group is viewed. Too often, hearing people misappropriate

 the stories and roles of people who are Deaf, only to seek out their assistance to 

help them create a facsimile of their lives. This is not authenticity.

                                                                            C.J. Jones

             Executive Director, SIFF 

                                        CEO, SignLight Inc. & SignWorld Studios 

The goal of SignWorld Studios and the inaugural SignLight International Film Festival is to further the

globally inclusive future of authentic storytelling for new audiences. SIFF will showcase Deaf and

hearing-impaired talent, establishing a pipeline that provides solutions to Hollywood studios and

leaders in making more diverse and inclusive programming.

                                                                             Michelle Baron                    

Producer, SIFF 

                                         COO, SignLight Inc. & SignWorld Studios 

For too long, Deaf artistry, culture and pride has been relegated to the shadows of the

entertainment industry. SIFF galvanizes and celebrates the global Deaf community of creatives to

weave an accessible welcome mat to Hollywood, opening doors of opportunity for Deaf storytellers to

unite, create and collaborate as, together, we build this untapped talent pipeline.

                                                                              Tari Harman Squire                   

  Producer, SIFF 

Coming Soon!

Professional Skills Training for Deaf &

Hard-of-Hearing Actors, Artists,

Technicians & Filmmakers

About the Founder

Hollywood leaders, critics and film fans have all recognized the brilliance of C.J. Jone’s breakthrough roles in film, TV and stage and have applauded his award-winning talents and accomplishments as a producer, director and writer.

 

After decades of TV, film, stand-up comedy and stage appearances, which have garnered him unsurpassed popularity in Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Hearing Signers communities worldwide, CJ is making a lasting impact throughout the entertainment industry.

 

A leading advocate and champion for the inclusion and representation of Deaf communities and people with disabilities, he is in high demand as a panelist and speaker, including a TedX Talk and Gallaudet’s 2021 commencement address, where he also received an honorary degree.

CJ earned global acclaim for his role as Joseph, the caring father to Ansel Elgort as Baby, in Edgar Wright’s award-winning blockbuster, Baby Driver; and for his follow up roles in the Academy Award-winning films, Avatar: The Way of Water and CODA, the latter making history by taking home three Oscars, including “Best Picture” and “Best Supporting Actor” awarded to Deaf actor Troy Kotsur.

 

In addition to an on-screen role in James Cameron’s megahit, CJ created Avatar’s fictional, underwater Na’vi Sign Language (NSL), which took two years to develop more than 300 signs. Most recently, he served as ASL director for HBO’s hit series, The Last of Us.

 

CJ is one of seven hearing children born to deaf parents who communicated in ASL. He became Deaf at the age of 7 when he fell ill with spinal meningitis. 

C.J. Jones

Founder / President

CJ headshot primary small.jpg

Contact Us!

Thanks for submitting!

Contacts
bottom of page