Filmmaker Doug Roland Talks about his Award Winning Movie, Feeling Through that features the first ever DeafBlind Lead.
I had never heard the term DeafBlind until learning about the film Feeling Through starring Robert Tarango. I have a cousin who is deaf and I know many blind people, but I did not know there was a specific term for someone who has both conditions.
Filmmaker Doug Roland educated not only myself but everyone else though his fantastic film Feeling Through where Artie (Tarango) has a chance encounter with Tereek (Steven Prescod), a young man who is out late one night and sees that man carrying a sign stating he is both deaf and blind and if anyone who was willing to help him across the street could tap him on the shoulder. This chance encounter leads both men in sharing a real and intimate human moment that does not belittle or pity people of either the deaf community, the blind community or the DeafBlind community.
The award winning film Feeling Through has been breaking barriers. Not only does it star a DeafBlind actor, the director Doug Roland has been holding fully accessible screenings across America (first in person and now virtually). The film was inspired by a chance meeting Roland had late one night with Artemio, a DeafBlind person. The topical film has been selected for numerous high-profile international film festivals and has been taking home numerous awards. Feeling Through can be seen online during Slamdance in February, 2021. This 13 time award-winning film (made in partnership with Helen Keller Services) marks the first time a DeafBlind actor has ever starred in a film.
Writer/Director Doug Roland is a filmmaker with a passion for telling stories about individuals and communities overlooked and underrepresented. He has taken Feeling Through around the country as part of The Feeling Through Experience, a 3-part screening event made fully accessible for moviegoers of any level of vision and/or hearing loss. Since the pandemic, Doug has held accessible live streams of The Feeling Through Experience for thousands of viewers. Doug’s short film Jada played in over 2 dozen festivals around the world before becoming a viral sensation with nearly 23 million views on YouTube, garnering thousands of comments and emails from viewers around the world deeply moved and inspired by it. Doug produced the feature film Life Hack which racked up 16 awards on the festival circuit (including Best Independent Feature at the Cleveland International Film Festival). He studied film at the University of Wisconsin Madison and FAMU in Prague.
I was lucky enough to speak with Mr. Roland about Feeling Through, what it as like working the Helen Keller National Center, the challenges that were faced in having a star that needed two interpreters because he is DeafBlind as well as having Marlee Matlin on board as an executive producer.
To watch the full film now being featured on Omeleto’s YouTube Page click the video above and go to www.youtube.com/omeleto for other great short films.
For more information about Feeling Through, you can follow them on Twitter @feelingthrough, Instagram @feelingthrough and Facebook at Feeling Though. You can also visit their official website at www.feelingthrough.com.