Four months ago Austin Chapman, a 23 year old film producer who was born profoundly deaf, was fit with a set of hearing instruments that allowed him to clearly hear and understand music for the first time in his life. So what does a twenty something decide to do when able to truly hear music for the first time…he went on a self proclaimed music binge, and asked the online community to help him identify the most beautiful songs out there so he could add it to the list! Austin reached out to the online community on reddit.com to help him compile a list, and 14,000 comments later he was overwhelmed with the response! “I was deeply affected by the support and encouragement of complete strangers when I shared my story online,” said Austin.
The experience inspired Austin to partner with the hearing instrument company that allowed him to hear music again, Phonak, to seek out others to tell similar stories about their own life-changing experience that came with hearing – for the first time or again.
The winning story will be produced into a short film by Austin. Beginning December 11, interested people can go to ArtOfTheStory.com to complete their story entries. In addition to the produced short film, the winner will receive a $25,000 prize from Phonak. The winner will be announced in February and the winning video will be featured on Phonak.com and ArtoftheStory.com.
And in the meantime, Austin continues to “binge” on music, blogging his experience as he travels through decades of songs. In his original post he stated his top five choices so far included:
1. Mozart’s Lacrimsoa… I know it’s a depressing song but to me it represents the first time I could appreciate and experience music.
2. The soundtrack to Eleven Eleven… I can see how this comes off as narcissistic, it being my own film and all but it’s such a personal work that when I listened to it for the first time I broke down. I felt like I was truly seeing the film for the first time ever. I’m grateful that Cazz was able to capture the tone perfectly. We discussed the film and specific scenes with essay-sized reasoning/deliberations on what should be conveyed. The critical response to the film surprised me and I still didn’t quite get it until seeing the visual images coupled with the soundtrack.
3. Sigur Ros’s Staralfur… The first song I had to listen to again, over and over.
4. IL Postino-Luis Bacalov
5. Minnesota’s A Bad Place [original by Shotgun Radio featuring Mimi Page, remixed by Minnesota]
Thank you Austin for sharing your story, and inspiring others to embark on a journey to regaining their hearing!