Inner Me – a documentary about women, deafness and courage

Four deaf women struggle against the barriers imposed on them by society revealing the beautiful resilience of the human spirit.

Inner Me is a short documentary film that captures the stories of Immaculée, Jemima, Sylvie and Stuka, 4 deaf women struggling against marginalization in the city of Butembo, in North Kivu, DR Congo, a country defined by war.

In Congo women and people with disabilities are confined to the bottom of society. People who can’t hear and can’t be heard are ostracized as if they have no reason to exist. Congolese society still believes that disabilities originated from evil spirits cursing a family. The film also highlights the normalization of widespread violence against women, who are victims of a systemic rape culture and suffer abuse and oppression on a daily basis.

The audience follows Jemima, the story’s little guide, through the dusty red roads of Butembo and encounter the 3 other women, Immaculée, Stuka and Sylvie. Through their eyes and intimate reflections, the women share their powerful stories of struggle and survival revealing the beautiful resilience of the human spirit.

The film, entirely self-financed, was born from Antonio’s encounter with the deaf community of Butembo while filming his previous documentary The Silent Chaos. Antonio was deeply moved by their need to communicate and share their stories and decided to he returned to Butembo in 2014 with the goal of helping the voiceless who can’t hear and can’t be heard in Congo narrate their own powerful stories of courage and resilience. With his film Antonio hopes to inspire many kinds of people, making them reflect on stories that might seem foreign, but that actually reveal deeper meanings that are universal to all of us: the power of communication and relationships in our lives.

“Inner Me is our inner voice. That voice that is so clear within us, but that we all have had difficulties revealing to the world. Communication and relationships are primal necessities for all of us. Deaf people are the example of the effort it takes to communicate our Inner Me.”

Link to the Project:

About Project Creator


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Antonio Spanò    Siena, Italy
After graduating from the University of Siena, Antonio Spanò decided to leave a career in law behind in order to pursue his love for filmmaking and shot his first documentary in Kurdistan, Iraq when he was 22 years old. Inner Me is Spanò’s third film based in Congo after The Silent Chaos and Animal Park, which have been screened in several countries around the world and won many awards in 2013 and 2014.
Antonio currently works as a freelance camera operator for TV productions (RAI, MTV), reportages and film productions and has traveled for work to Haiti, Afghanistan and Libya.