Utah’s deaf community says best picture ‘CODA’ is a glimpse into their lives

Mar 28, 2022, 6:34 PM | Updated: Jun 18, 2022, 8:43 pm

OGDEN, Utah — The film “CODA” won the Oscar for best picture at Sunday’s award show. Now, it’s shedding light on the deaf in Utah and the family members who support them.

Educators at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Ogden said the film is giving people a window into the lives that they live every day.

It especially shines the light on children of deaf adults who deal with some unique challenges.

It’s the type of attention that only Hollywood can give to help a community be seen and heard in a way Andrea Rathbun has never experienced before.

“I have not cried in a movie as much as I cried in CODA,” Rathbun said. “You know, it was happy tears, and it was sad tears. And then, it was tears of anger and, you know, tears of joy.”

Rathbun is a CODA. In addition to her parents, she has two deaf siblings and two hearing siblings.

“Now they can actually see what I’m still going through. I’m a grown adult, but I still go and support my parents. I still go and do all the things I used to do when I was growing up,” she said.

Rathbun helps the Utah School for the Deaf as an interpreter. She said being a child of deaf adults can seem lonely.

“Never being able to fit in with people that can hear, or into you know, the community of the deaf completely. We are our own little bunch,” she said with a laugh.

“CODAs are very special because they may be the best interpreters,” Price said.

He said he sees his own children deal with some of those same challenges that were portrayed in the film.

“You know, sometimes I forget what my children are dealing with.”

He said the film also showed something else.

“Yes, the sky is not the limit. It is open, that a child that is deaf can become whatever they want to.”

Rathbun hopes the deaf community will continue to be seen, even if this may be only a moment in Hollywood.

“I’m hoping it opens the eyes of, you know, people everywhere,” she said.

Rathbun and Price were impressed with Troy Kotsur’s performance, which won best supporting actor.

They’re hopeful the limelight will also remain for deaf talent like his.

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Utah’s deaf community says best picture ‘CODA’ is a glimpse into their lives