Matt Ogens spent ten years making his film “Audible,” a documentary about the football team at the Maryland School for the Deaf, and all of that work has paid off. The film, which is currently streaming on Netflix, has been shortlisted for Best Documentary Short at the upcoming 94th Academy Awards. Ogens would not have it any other way. “I’m glad it took this long because I love this version of it. I’m really happy with how it ended up,” he exclaims. Check out our exclusive video interview with Ogens above.
“Audible” follows high school senior Amaree Mckenstry, the football team’s star player and eventual Homecoming King. The film documents Amaree’s triumphs and struggles as he navigates his final year of high school and prepares to find his own way in the hearing world. We also meet Amaree’s family and friends, including the father who abandoned him as a child.
Ogens spent a great deal of time and effort building relationships with the school, its staff and the students’ families. The result, he argues, is seen in the students’ willingness to be so emotionally vulnerable on camera. “The process doesn’t start when the camera is rolling,” he claims. “It starts the first time you talk to them, text them, direct message them. You’re trying to organically connect because you want to care about the film you’re making.”
Ogens argues that the film is not just about a deaf football team. “I don’t look at this as a sports film,” he says. “I look at this as a coming of age film. It’s about teenagers on the cusp of a really big moment in their life.” He also believes that the backdrop of sports acts as a foundation for the film’s themes. “Football gives it a structure and a narrative arc,” he argues. “I also think that sports is such a great metaphor for life and the ups and downs.”
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