Last Thursday, June 26th, was the live projection on YouTube of the film Feeling Through. It gathered an audience of over 500 people not only from all over the US but also from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Nepal, United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada. It’s impressive to see how this short film attracts and moves audiences everywhere. The chat was full of comments that reflect how it reaches the heart of the audience.

Feeling Through is a movie based on an experience that its director, Doug Roland, had years ago in New York City when he met a deaf-blind person on the street. This experience hanged onto him for years until he decided to make it into a movie.

Doug cast several deaf-blind individuals for the role and selected the charismatic Robert Tarango who is the first deaf-blind actor in a lead movie role (#deafblindtalent). When you watch the movie, you will agree that he couldn’t have selected a better person. Meeting Robert is falling in love with his personality. He reflects deep happiness that is contagious.

Stephen Prescod plays the other main role. When Doug saw him, during the last day of casting, he knew right away that he was the right one for the role. Steven shows very well how this encounter deeply touches his character. In Steven’s words, he knew that by participating in this movie he was going to be part of great things.

Making the movie was an experience in itself. The actors, the director, and the rest of the crew had to come up with ways to easily interact with Robert in low light conditions (Robert still has some vision). The film was shot in New York on 4 cold November nights.

The in-person and online screenings of the movie are also a unique experience.  The screenings are done in three parts: the movie, a documentary about the movie, and a panel discussion with a Q&A session to engage and connect with the community. This last part is an integral element of the Feeling Through Experience which is centered around human connection. Another important element of the screenings is their accessibility. They include open & closed captions, audio description, ASL and tactile interpreters, and captioning services for the panel discussion. 

During Thursday's Q&A session, Chris Woodfill, from the Helen Keller National Center, mentioned that the biggest obstacle that deaf-blind individuals face is the misconception others have about the abilities of people with deaf-blindness. This movie is certainly a way to start taking down misconceptions and creating connections. This is especially true taking into account the recent events in our country. Creating a sincere connection with others in society allows us to begin healing our wounds. 

Congratulations to Doug and everyone else involved in the movie. I think that all of us who have watched it want to see Feeling Through becoming a feature film. 

 

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