Deaf filmmaker Alison O’Daniel came across a news report about the unsolved theft of tubas at a number of Los Angeles high schools. She wondered how the students would be able to practice without an instrument. This became the starting point for a visual poem about how people across the deafness spectrum experience sound.
The Tuba Thieves does not only tell the story of the theft, but uses the event as a central thread for an associative tour of a city filled with sound. We see the impact of aircraft noise on residents, and how instruments can connect hearing and deaf musicians. We become part of a world where sound and silence are reframed for all audiences.
In open captions, the sounds are described as accurately as possible. An inventive sound montage enhances the precise camera work. Gradually it becomes clear that sound and silence are the factors that connect all these apparently independent impressions. More than a documentary, The Tuba Thieves is an auditory experience.