Hearing Silence

A Short Documentary

The ability to hear plays such a crucial role in making music that it's almost impossible to imagine how a professional musician feels when they've been diagnosed with a condition called Otosclerosis (progressive deafness). But that is exactly what flautist Elizabeth Petcu is bravely facing. Like Beethoven, Elizabeth is experiencing conductive hearing loss where the bones of the ear fuse together preventing sound from entering and vibrating. Last year, after 25 years as principle flautist, Elizabeth had to leave her job in the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

This documentary lets the audience enter a world where sound plays a crucial but increasingly frustrating role and shows how this musician is dealing with the loss of a vital sense with strength and humour. This is a story of one woman's struggle to express her creativity through sound – despite her limited hearing – and her new relationship with silence.

Hearing Silence has screened at several major film festivals in Ireland and abroad. Upcoming screenings are listed here »

ICCL Human Rights Film Awards

Hearing Silence made the 2011 ICCL Human Rights Film Awards shortlist and was runner-up. (Photos) More »

Elizabeth Petcu's Photostream on Flickr: Hearing Silence

Hearing Silence Trailer


Hearing Silence from Wildfire Films on Vimeo.

Hearing Silence is a documentary that delves into a world where sound plays a crucial but increasingly frustrating role, as we learn how professional musician Elizabeth Petcu is coping with hearing loss. Directed by Hilary Fennell and produced by Martha O'Neill, Hearing Silence premiered in November, 2010, at the Cork Film Festival and is part of the Irish Film Board's Reality Bites fund for short documentaries. More »