The Film Bunch was founded in 2016 by Shajna (Shaz) Begum. Shaz was born moderately deaf and has worn hearing aids for most of her life. After graduating, she joined the film industry and started freelancing as an editor. It was important for her to attend film events for networking opportunities but she found them to be mostly inaccessible.
Because the films lacked captions, Shaz couldn’t always follow the stories and often felt excluded from the conversations afterwards. This prompted her to start up The Film Bunch to create a space where both deaf and hearing communities could enjoy the films.
She met founding member Nina Thomas, who was born profoundly deaf in her right ear. A year after graduating, Nina experienced a significant sudden hearing loss in her left ear and started to encounter the exclusion and barriers that many deaf people face.
Being an artist, she sought out opportunities to continue to be actively involved in arts and culture, despite her hearing loss. She is also a trustee at Stagetext.
Shaz and Nina’s shared frustrations have led them to work together to make The Film Bunch what it is today. They’re passionate about the need to provide quality and accessible opportunities in the media industry and want to see captions used more widely, from YouTube to blockbuster cinema.