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Film Review: Feeling Through
by Karen Pecota

Feeling Through *****

Filmmaker Doug Roland writes and directs an award-winning short film Feeling Through taken from true events and made possible to dawn the silver screen in partnership with the Helen Keller National Center. Noteworthy is that this short film received a 2021 Oscar nomination for a drama in the Best Short Film category. In addition, this is the first time a DeafBlind actor (Robert Tarango as Artie) has starred in a film. The winner of this category will be announced at the Academy Awards ceremony on April 25, 2021.

Roland says that he is passionate about sharing stories of individuals and communities where those voices are overlooked or underrepresented. His script for Feeling Through gives just that voice.

The true events happened some years ago to Roland while on his way home very late one evening. He came upon a man standing at a deserted street corner holding a sign that read, "I am deaf and blind and I need help crossing the street." Roland lends a helping hand. The hour that then transpired was a life-changing experience for Roland. The two men communicated each using their skills to speak a different language. Artemio would write sentences on his note pad and Roland would answer spelling words in Artemio's hand. Roland recalls, "Waiting for the bus with this man, Artemio, left a lasting impression on me." Adding, "It was not because it was the first DeafBlind person I had met, but he was a kind and charismatic person and I felt I had a mutual bond." Roland immediately wrote down his experience in detail, but it would take seven years to bring the story in script form to life. He notes, "It was not until I aligned myself with the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) that I had a partnership to allow me to tell this story with the authenticity it deserves."


Tereek (Steven Prescod), a teen wondering the streets of New York City trying to find a place to crash for the night encounters Artie (Robert Tarango). Artie is holding up a sign that reads, "I am a DeafBlind man and I need help to cross the street."

A very tired Tereek seemed annoyed at first that he should be a Good Samaritan and be of service to a man in need. It was an awkward beginning between the two, but this unique experience ultimately welcomes an intimate bond. It's an experience that forever changes Tereek with a more positive trajectory for his future.