British Columbia

'Resident Evil' actress from B.C. stars in short film tackling stereotypes around deaf people

It was using sign language that landed 15-year-old Aryana Engineer her first film role, and now the Port Moody actress is starring in a film that breaks down stereotypes around people who are hearing impaired.

Port Moody's Aryana Engineer, 15, helped raise funds for film showing at youth film festival in Vancouver

Actress Aryana Engineer attends the premiere of "Resident Evil: Retribution" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on September 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (FilmMagic)

Fifteen-year-old actress Aryana Engineer — known for her role in the horror movie Orphan and the Resident Evil film series — was discovered at the age of five when an agent in her Port Moody neighbourhood saw her using sign language.

"She saw my mom and I signing, and then she asked me if I was interested in acting … and it went from there," said Engineer, who is hearing impaired, and was cast in Orphan for a character who needed to sign.

Now Engineer is appearing in Dreaming of Peggy Lee, a short film about two deaf teenagers that is being featured at the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver.

Engineer, who also helped crowdfund for the movie, said she wanted to be a part of the project "just to show what deaf people can do."

"Other people think they can't do as much as normal people can do, but I don't believe that," she told host Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

Filmed in England, Dreaming of Peggy Lee is a dreamy film that is primarily a musical, and focuses on two teens who escape their oppressive care home to follow the one character's dream to become a singer.

"It's a very powerful film," Engineer said.

Engineer, whose mother is deaf, was born severely hearing impaired. Six years ago she received cochlear implants, which she said have helped her become "more independent."

She said that, after her acting career, she'd like to become a veterinarian.

With files from CBC's The Early Edition

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Port Moody actress Aryana Engineer stars in film breaking down stereotypes around deaf people


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