Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) announced today that Bus Door Films (BDF) is the next business partner of its CSD Social Venture Fund. Deaf-owned BDF is an early stage creative production and filmmaking business focused on providing quality video services for both deaf and hearing clients and increasing the deaf artistic talent pool behind the camera.
The CSD Social Venture Fund (CSD SVF) is the first-ever social impact fund and incubator for deaf-owned businesses in the United States. CSD created this multi-million dollar fund in 2017 to help address the 70% unemployment and underemployment rate among deaf Americans. CSD is the world’s largest deaf-led social impact organization.
“Bus Door Films is poised to become an exemplar of the values held by the CSD Social Venture Fund,” said Christopher Soukup, CEO of CSD. “We have known Bradley and Ruan for several years and continue to be impressed with the quality of their creative work. Bradley and Ruan have already proven themselves with their previous work at CSD, working on contracts with government agencies and other private and public organizations with a high degree of client satisfaction. More importantly, their vision to expand deaf talent behind the camera is beautifully aligned with ours in addressing critical gaps in employment, and their presence will help increase authentic representation and the numbers of deaf people working in the creative production industry.”
Founded in 2019 by childhood friends and colleagues, Bradley Gantt and Ruan du Plessis, BDF is a startup providing comprehensive and high quality creative production services for both deaf and hearing clients, including advocacy groups, nonprofits and corporations. Key BDF services include: film and video production both in-studio and on-location, editing, sound, visual effects, live event capture and streaming, and consultancy and advisory services. The two former CSD employees both had direct experience with cameras while as youths, and since then have compiled an extensive list of video and film production credits, including work with ASL Films, CSD’s recent “Beyond Inclusion” film starring Nyle DiMarco, and are joining a new feature length film shoot this fall.
“We are very honored CSD has named us as one of its SVF partners,” said BDF founders Gantt and du Plessis. “We recognize that while onscreen deaf talent is becoming increasingly visible today, it is equally important to have deaf talent behind the camera to help drive the creation of content that more closely includes real deaf perspectives, and not just for deaf audiences only. CSD’s support will allow us to accelerate our vision and we are very excited to be working with them.”
CSD Chief Innovation Officer and head of the CSD SVF Dominic Lacy said, “While a deaf-centered production company like Bus Door Films is not new, what is unique about them is their commitment to elevating the presence of deaf professionals in the media and increasing our talent pool. Our own investment directly in their business and in providing mentorship and guidance on business operations will be exponentially impactful as they, in turn, help develop further talent.”
BDF is CSD’s fifth SVF investment partner, joining the following business partners who were named previously: DeafTax, a tax preparation service; Mozzeria, a Neapolitan pizzeria based in San Francisco’s Mission district; reFort, a Washington, D.C. startup reducing durable goods waste from college student moves; and National Deaf Therapy, a women-owned eTherapy mental health platform.
The CSD SVF fund and incubator program provides capital funding, mentorship and business resources. An eight-week incubator training program includes: digital marketing, business modeling, sales, financial and accounting support. Additional SVF partners going forward will be named by CSD on a rolling basis.
All CSD SVF business partners must align with CSD values of enhancing deaf economic power, employing deaf people and creating social change. Key fund selection criteria include: creating an impact and aligning with CSD’s commitment to prosperity among deaf people everywhere; having the potential to grow and be scalable; demonstrating leadership through a clear and far-reaching vision; and offering innovative products and services that provide a unique spin on traditional approaches, or that are entirely new innovations.
For more information please visit CSD Social Venture Fund.
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