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First Film With DeafBlind Actor in Lead Role Nominated for Academy Award

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The short film “Feeling Through” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film on Monday. The film, starring DeafBlind actor Robert Tarango, is the first Oscar-nominated film to have a DeafBlind performer in the lead role.

According to Variety, the short film tells the story of Tereek — played by Steven Prescod — who needs a place to stay, who meets Artie — played by Tarango — who is on his way home. The two men become fast friends.

This is the film debut of Tarango, who worked at the Helen Keller National Center, where he met the director of “Feeling Through,” Doug Roland. Tarango wrote about his experience making the film on the website Blind New World and said he is “so proud to be the first DeafBlind actor in a movie.”

The shoot days for the movie were overnight, starting at 6:00 p.m. and going until four or five in the morning. It was my first time wearing makeup! It was November and it was so cold! I had Kathy, who is a support service provider (SSP), to guide me. Once, as Doug was explaining things to me, I lost my balance and fell. I told Doug I was okay and we kept on filming. After filming, we would go back to a hotel and rest.

Deaf actress and activist Marlee Matlin is an executive producer of this groundbreaking short film. Matlin herself is the only Deaf performer to have won an Oscar. At the age of 21, Matlin won an Academy Award for Best Actress for 1986’s “Children of a Lesser God.”

Like all films during the pandemic, “Feeling Through” is available to watch online. You can watch the short film below or here directly on YouTube. The full transcript is available here.

Image courtesy of Feeling Through

Originally published: March 16, 2021
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