Me llamo Gennet. The Film
An emotive story about solidarity, personal growth, inclusive education and visibility of disability that gives a face to deaf-blind people.
“I overcame silence and darkness”. This is how the intense life journey of Gennet Corcuera, the star of ‘My Name Is Gennet’, the latest film by Director and Producer Miguel Ángel Tobías, could be summarised. A true story that tells the story of the life of Gennet, from her childhood before being abandoned at a children’s home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to her becoming the first deaf-blind person to receive a university degree in Europe. An example of inclusive education and full of values, with the backing of and co-production by the Fundación Telefónica.
The film will be released in cinemas on 4 April, and 10% of the proceeds from the film will be donated to the Federation of Associations of Deaf-Blind People of Spain (FASOCIDE by its Spanish initials).
“Ever since I heard Gennet’s story in the media when she graduated, I knew it was a great story that deserved to be taken to the big screen”.
(Miguel Ángel Tobías)
The film’s Director, Miguel Ángel Tobías, tells us that Gennet’s story was initially going to be a documentary film, but all that changed when he met her: “After many hours of conversation with her, discovering her life story, I realised that this had to be addressed as a major fiction project. I ran this by Gennet because I wanted her to play herself during the entire adult stage, and I was surprised when she said yes, and it’s going to be a surprise for all cinema-goers because her performance is spectacular”.
This is the film-maker’s first venture into the field of fiction after a long career in socially committed documentary making. The film was shot in Spain and Ethiopia, and stars Gennet Corcuera, Miriam Díaz-Aroca, Ángela Molina, Miki Molina, Zewdu W. Mariam, and Miguel Ángel Tobías himself, and includes the involvement of RTVE and the backing of the Fundación Telefónica and the Fundación Historias Que Deben Ser Contadas (Stories That Need To Be Told Foundation).
INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, SOLIDARITY, PERSONAL GROWTH
In the words of our Director General, Carmén Morenés, “the Fundación Telefónica saw in this film an epic story of inclusive education which highlights the importance of working to ensure that no one misses out on the adventure of education. After passing through university, Gennet is now a teacher of deaf-blind people, and continues the chain of virtue of inclusive education”.
“Of course, ‘My name is Gennet’ is also an emotive story about solidarity, personal growth and visibility of disability that gives a face to deaf-blind people, who total 100,000 in Spain, all of these values that we share in the Fundación Telefónica, which is why we decided to take part in the production and promotion of this film”.
“This film shows the importance of working to ensure that no one misses out on the adventure of education” (Carmen Morenés)
A TRUE STORY
Gennet Corcuera is 38 years old. She’s Ethiopian. She cannot see, she cannot hear, and she has no sense of smell. She was abandoned in an orphanage when she was only two years old, and after becoming deaf and blind due to an infection. The year was 1984, and Ethiopia was ravaged by hunger and misery. It could have been the end, but fate saved Gennet. Carmen Corcuera crossed paths with her, and decided to adopt her and bring her to Spain. She began to study at an ONCE special education school where she spent time with people like herself for the first time, learning to communicate using sign language, and where she was able to develop. She got a 7.2 grade in the Spanish State University Entrance Exam and won a place. She studied Special Education, becoming the first European deaf-blind person to be awarded a university degree. She currently works as a special educator in the only care home specialising in deaf-blindness in Spain.
There are 3 million deaf-blind people in Europe alone; there is no reliable data at a worldwide level. In Spain, there is a total of 100,000 people. Deaf-blindness is one of the most challenging disabilities today, and also the most unknown. Deaf-blind people have specific needs and require personalised care in order to progress. Only when this disability is experienced personally, or when a person lives in close contact with people with this disability, can one begin to understand the isolation and suffering of living without knowing what is going on around you, disconnected from such fundamental fields as access to information, education, vocational training, employment, social interaction, or cultural activities.
“My Name Is Gennet is going to contribute to raising awareness in society about what deaf-blindness means and everything that this group of people is capable of achieving with the necessary resources”, explains Miguel Ángel Tobías. Gennet is an example of admirable personal growth, that the perspective of the problems changes for anyone who sees the film. What is more, 10% of the proceeds of the film will be donated to the Federation of Associations of Deaf-Blind People of Spain (FASOCIDE).