Emilio Insolera

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Emilio Insolera
Emilio Insolera Cannes.jpg
Emilio Insolera in Cannes (2018).
Alma materGallaudet University; Sapienza University of Rome
  • Actor
  • director
  • producer
Partner(s)Carola Insolera

Emilio Insolera is an actor and producer, known for Sign Gene (2017). [1]

Early life[edit]

Insolera was born deaf to Italian deaf parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was raised in Italy and in the United States. As a Fulbright and Roberto Wirth scholar, he received his bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Film from Gallaudet University, Washington DC, the only liberal arts college for the deaf in the world, and his master's degree in Mass Communication with Summa Cum Laude from University of Rome La Sapienza.[2][3][4] Insolera speaks and read lips fluently even though sign language is his native language. He has an older brother, Humberto[5], himself deaf too. Upon completing his studies, Insolera settled down in New York City and worked for MTV, Time Out New York and ELLE.


Tim Burton and Emilio Insolera in Tokyo

Insolera wrote, directed and produced the long feature superhero film Sign Gene. The film, shot between Japan, the US and Italy, centres on deaf superheroes who have the ability to create superhuman powers through the use of sign language.[6][7] The characters are blessed with arcane powers "- like those, when signing the word 'close', of being able to make doors close at will; or where, when signing the word 'weapon', hands actually metamorphose into bona fide weapons, replete with spewing fire and all sorts."[8] Originally starting out as a short film, it garnered such a groundswell of interest with people offering to become involved, that Insolera, upon realizing it had the legs for a shot at the big time, had to rewrite the script into a feature-length.[9] The casting came by way of word of mouth: Insolera was especially looking for native signers fluent in Sign language.[10][11]

The film had its world premiere on September 8, 2017 in Milan, was released in theatres by the UCI Cinemas on September 14, 2017[12][13][14][5][15], had its US debut on April 13, 2018[16] and was released in Japan on September 14th, 2018.[17]

Sign Gene received positive reviews from critics. On Los Angeles Times, Michael Rechtshaffen describes the “fresh, unique filmmaking voice” as a “fast-paced potpourri of stock footage combined with sign-language and stroboscopic action sequences performed by a deaf cast, video effects simulating grainy, scratchy film stock and that aforementioned all-enveloping sound mix, with an end result that proves as wildly inventive as it is empowering”. [18] On Avvenire it reads the film “will mostly like to the younger generation accustomed to the rapid and psychedelic language of video games or Japanese cartoons”.[5] Writing for ASVOFF, Giorgia Cantarini says the story is intricate and “very fascinating. The sounds create an unexpected important part, sometimes overwhelming who is watching. All happens very fast and astonishes you with a vibrant energy”.[15] On Corriere della Sera, Michela Trigari calls Sign Gene an “experimental film” that uses the science fiction as a medium to capture the imagination and “make visible what is invisible to the eyes”.[14] The film is making waves, and has inspired one Italian linguist to declare it “the symbol of activism for the visual community.”[19]

Insolera appeared on the cover of Tokyo Weekender’s November 2018 issue taken by worldwide known photographer Leslie Kee. [20][21]

During the same month, Insolera was featured on the main poster of Leslie Kee’s 20th anniversary photo exhibition “WE ARE LOVE” in Tokyo. [22][23]

Personal life[edit]

Carola Insolera and Emilio Insolera (2018)

He is married to Norwegian model Carola Insolera, whom he met while in Tokyo.[24] [25]


Insolera collaborated with LISMedia and Mason Perkins Deafness Fund to the realization of Un Picnic Tutto Pazzo. Along with researchers Elena Radutzky and Mauro Mottinelli, Insolera produced the first Italian Sign Language dictionary in DVD format.[26][27][28][29][30]


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Inno Nazionale Solo performer His performance in Italian Sign Language is analyzed by linguistics Alessio Di Renzo and Claudia Savina Bianchini from the National Research Council (Italy) [31]
2017 Sign Gene Tom Clerc The leading character Tom Clerc is a mutant that has superhuman powers through the use of sign language and is descendant of Laurent Clerc.

Music video[edit]

(2014) “Flash” song written by Maria Eva Albistur’s Santa Fe. Featuring Insolera [32][33]


  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Claf_2B2lJc
  2. ^ http://www.oggi7.info/node/2327/print/
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-10-01.
  4. ^ http://www.cabss.it/emilio-insolera.html
  5. ^ a b c "Quando il super eroe è sordo" (in Italian). Avvenire. 10 September 2017.
  6. ^ http://www.nhk.or.jp/heart-net/rounan/backnumber/2009/05/0503.html
  7. ^ http://timetable.yanbe.net/pdv.cgi?d=20090816&p=41&v=1&c=103162474200908161930
  8. ^ TJ (24 October 2015). "Father of Sign Gene". Tokyo Journal. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  9. ^ https://www.kansaiscene.com/2009/12/emilio-insolera/
  10. ^ http://tokyojournal.com/component/k2/item/743-issue-267-summer-2009-father-of-sign-gene
  11. ^ http://news.cinecitta.com/IT/it-it/news/53/42467/15-24-sign-gene-un-film-tutto-da-guardare.aspx
  12. ^ "UCI Cinemas - Sign Gene". UCI Cinemas (in Italian). Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  13. ^ "UCI Cinemas Sign Gene". Ad (in Italian). Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  14. ^ a b Trigari, Michela (12 September 2017). "Sign Gene è il nuovo film di supereroi sordi" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera.
  15. ^ a b "Sign Gene by Emilio Insolera arrives at cinema". ASVOFF. 10 September 2017.
  16. ^ Crust, Kevin (8 April 2018). "L.A. movie openings, April 13". Los Angeles Times’’.
  17. ^ Kuramoto, Takuya (19 September 2018). "ろう者のスーパーヒーロー映画、監督が手話で作品解説!" (in Japanese). Cinema Today’’.
  18. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (12 April 2018). "Inventive 'Sign Gene' chronicles derring-do of first deaf superheroes". Los Angeles Times’’.
  19. ^ Broersen, Leonard (1 December 2009). "Emilio Insolera. The film director, visual community member and activist is a man on a mission".
  20. ^ Hernon, Matthew (1 November 2018). ""Sign Gene": Emilio Insolera on Creating the World's First Deaf Superhero Film". Tokyo Weekender’’.
  21. ^ https://www.tokyoweekender.com/weekender-archives/
  22. ^ ""WE ARE LOVE"" (in Japanese). 3 November 2018.
  23. ^ {{cite web|url=https://www.fashionsnap.com/article/2018-10-19/lesliekee-wearelove/#lg=1&slide=3
  24. ^ Andrea, Puha. "Carola és Emilio Insolera – a siket pár, akitől mindenki sokat tanulhatna". Vous (in Hungarian). Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  25. ^ Valeria, Vantaggi. "Carola Insolera". Vanity Fair (in Italian). Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  26. ^ https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dizionario-lis/id917187457?mt=8
  27. ^ http://www.grupposilis.it/news/2008/33-nasce-il-primo-dizionario-in-dvd-della-lis
  28. ^ http://www.lis-learning.com
  29. ^ http://www.disabili.com/prodotti/articoli-qprodotti/imparare-la-lingua-dei-segni-con-un-dvd
  30. ^ https://books.google.no/books?id=vNGzS6S49osC&pg=PA171&lpg=PA171&dq=emilio+insolera+dizionario+lis&source=bl&ots=-B7kH2sY1o&sig=WLHHcL8JEpcplRvCP8OF4aM6Wb4&hl=no&sa=X&ved=0CEMQ6AEwBTgKahUKEwi85Z3u7ZvIAhVH8XIKHeH1BXA#v=onepage&q=emilio%20insolera%20dizionario%20lis&f=false
  31. ^ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230720630_L%27Inno_di_Mameli_tradotto_in_Lingua_dei_Segni_Italiana_%28LIS%29_un%27analisi_linguistica
  32. ^ https://vimeo.com/78850471
  33. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sH4ASNXE_g

External links[edit]