Oscar contender for Best live Action Short Feeling Through is a heartfelt film that is breaking barriers both on the screen and behind the scenes.
Tarango was born in Arizona and attended the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind. At birth, he was deaf with 20/20 vision. After attending the Helen Keller National Center, he stayed to work in the cafeteria there. He fulfilled a life-long dream by becoming the first deafblind actor to star in a film.
Feeling Through stars the first Deafblind actor in a leading role – Robert Tarango. Depending on the kindness of strangers takes on a deeper meaning when two different kinds of vulnerable men meet by chance in the city night.
The coming of age story follows Tereek (Steven Prescod) a teen wandering the streets of New York, desperate for a place to crash when he encounters Artie, a Deafblind man in need of help getting home. What begins as an awkward meeting between strangers, quickly becomes an intimate bond between friends, and a journey that forever changes the teen.
The short film is based on a true story of the director Doug Roland’s chance meeting with a Deafblind actor in New York City. Roland wrote the award winning short, which premiered at AFI last year, after this life changing moment.
Watch the Oscar Contending film below:
Roland knew from the start he wanted to cast a Deafblind actor to star, so he partnered with Helen Keller Services to realize that mission. The lovable and sincere lead actor, Robert Tarango, was found through Helen Keller services working in the kitchen at that time, and this lead role marks his first ever film.
Prescod, who beautifully plays the young man who lends a helping hand even while he is in need, was incarcerated at a young age and it was acting that gave him hope and a new direction in life.
These two men with their own challenging pasts and lives turned actors were able to infuse their own struggles into the characters and Feeling Through results in a touching story of the kindness of strangers and of humanity.
The empathy that takes place between Teerek and Artie grows into a connection and understanding which invites the audience to do the same; giving the world a glimpse into a struggling young man on the streets and into the vastly unknown world of Deafblindness.
What began as a real life chance encounter and connection between two people on the streets of New York became a movie and has now grown into a global network connecting thousands of people in the Deafblind, blind, and low-vision communities, and connecting non-disabled people to the people and missions of those communities.
We’ll see if Feeling Through wins the Oscar for Best Live Action Short when the awards airs on ABC, April 15.
Megan Penn reports on the indie film market and anything that empowers women and underrepresented groups.