Film poster for "Teacher of Patience" with headshot of girl smiling in front of pink background.
Film poster for "Teacher of Patience" with headshot of girl smiling in front of pink background.
After Emily Felter is diagnosed with Down syndrome, her father, paramedic Tom Felter, develops a presentation to share her story with other first responders.


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BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT - Prospector International Film Festival and Indy Film Fest | AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD - Fault Line Film Festival

Disability Studies • Family Advocacy • First Responders • Healthcare Workers • Health and Medicine • Social Work • Education • Caregiving 

Date of Completion: 2022 | Run Time: 28 minutes​​ | Language: English with English & Russian subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director, Producer & Editor: Carmen Vincent | Executive Producer: Heidi Reinberg | Consulting Editor: Véronique N. Doumbé | Associate Producer: Evan Knowles

Over 26 years ago, paramedic Tom Felter and nurse Tina Felter welcomed Emily into the world. It wasn't long before baby Emily was diagnosed with Down syndrome. Almost 20 years later, the Felters set out to develop and share The Emily Talk, a presentation that teaches first responders and the greater community about individuals with disabilities, like Emily. Emily finds her place in the world through her colorful language and sense of humor, her fondness of routine, and her deep love for those around her, who love her equally in return. The film shows that, just like everyone else, she has her good and bad days, and her unique ways of communicating her feelings are worth learning and listening to. Sometimes that takes patience, which is a difficult skill to learn for everyone, but especially for those in the first responder and healthcare fields where things are always fast-paced. First responders are often required to make quick decisions and snap judgments, which can lead to unnecessary and unwanted tragedies. This is why Tom developed The Emily Talk with first responders in mind.

Ultimately, TEACHER OF PATIENCE was created to serve as an educational tool for first responders and other community leaders, a source of validation and comfort for families touched by disability, and kindling for open-minded discussion about disability, inclusion, equity, and accessibility.

Educational Media Reviews Online | Reviewed by Giovanna Colosi, Librarian for the School of Education, Subject Instruction Lead, Syracuse University
[T]houghtful conversations about disability, inclusivity, fairness, and access in disability studies, psychology, social work, and teacher prep programs."

Booklist | Sue-Ellen Beauregard
"An engaging and unfiltered peek into the lives of Indiana residents Tim and Tina Felter and their twentysomething daughter Emily who has Down Syndrome."

Samantha Burgett | Police Social Worker for City of Valparaiso, IN
"As someone who interacts with diverse populations on a daily basis, the transformative concept of educating others on how to engage appropriately with other people via documentaries and story sharing is invaluable. Teacher of Patience provides a beautiful lesson on embracing and appreciating our differences, as well as a critical lesson on how we should all strive to learn how to engage with and appreciate others who we may not initially understand. This is an incredibly powerful and important film.”

Steve Slack | National Down Syndrome Society DS Ambassador & Champion of Change Award Recipient
"I train law enforcement and first responders on how to engage people with disabilities. Teacher of Patience explains why patience is so important by examining the life of one family. I tell those in my trainings that they cannot control how someone else reacts to something, but they can control how they react, and how they react can make all of the difference. Watching Tom and Tina put into action what they are teaching is eye opening. This is a very important and beautiful film. I recommend it to all first responders and everyone else."

Kayla McKeon | Down Syndrome Self-Advocate and Lobbyist
"I feel like this video should be shown because it tells the life of someone with Down Syndrome and how they should be portrayed. I felt comfortable watching this movie because it shows every day life , family and the struggles we go through."

Melissa Bohacek | Parent of an Adult with Down Syndrome
"As a parent of an adult with Down Syndrome, I immediately connected to the parents in this film. The vulnerability and rawness of everyday life was beautifully captured in the film. My daughter and I love getting to know Emily through the documentary and celebrating her uniqueness and individuality."

Denise Humberstone | Trustee and Director of Making Chromosomes Count, Parent of an Adult with Down Syndrome
"A definite must-watch! You just know within the first few minutes that you are about to experience a roller coaster of emotions simply because it is crystal clear this story is unadulterated, as raw as it gets, and will make for a difficult, uncomfortable, deeply moving and funny watch, all at the same time. A testament to the love and dedication of all the families of disabled children who are desperate to make the world a safe place for them long after they are no longer around to protect them themselves. Most of all, it is a documentary that could save lives, one that all law-enforcement officers as well as paramedics should watch."

Mark X. Cronin | Co-Founder of John's Crazy Socks, Parent of an Adult with Down Syndrome
"You will love Emily. This film presets the fullness of Emily and does so in an insightful and empathetic way. I watched it with a group of people - some of whom had Down syndrome - and everyone loved the movie and found it incredibly moving. It speaks to Emily's courage and humor and the love and patience that she has given to her parents and family. I highly recommend this movie."

Brittany Alsot | Filmmaker
"Carmen Vincent's deft and sensitive filmmaking gives us a fascinating window into Emily's world, including both the joy and the overwhelm as she and her family navigate life with Down Syndrome. It's wonderful to get to know this family in their unique complexity and heartening to see Emily's parents be so honest about their struggles even as they work so hard to help Emily be herself."

Audience Choice Award | Fault Line Film Festival
Best Documentary Short | Prospector International Film Festival
Best Short Documentary | Stockholm City Film Festival
Award of Excellence | Canada Shorts Film Festival
Best Film on Disability Issue | Tagore International Film Festival
The Arcadia Award Winner | Prodigy Film Festival
Best Short Documentary - Hoosier Lens | Indy Film Fest
Nominee - Outstanding Achievement for Diversity/Equity/Inclusion - Short and Long Form ContentChicago / Midwest Emmy Awards

Slamdance Film Festival
Oregon Documentary Film Festival - Best Documentary Film Finalist
Hobnobben Film Festival - Nominee for Best Documentary Short
Indy Shorts International Film Festival
Paradise Film Festival
Depth of Field International Film Festival
Docs Without Borders Film Festival
International Portrait Film Festival
Tennessee International Indie Film Festival
Hoosier Films Annual Festival

National Volunteer Fire Council Annual Conference

Documentary Filmmaker Carmen Vincent has been making films that tell stories from marginalized communities since she was in high school. As a disabled storyteller, she speaks from both personal experience and empathy-driven curiosity for others stories. She is passionately involved in numerous disability advocacy movements and organizations, and works hard to help foster a more equitable world where everyone can be there most authentic selves, fearlessly. You can check out some of her advocacy work at: https://www.carmenvincent.com/disability-work.html. You can also learn more about the film at: https://www.teacherofpatience.com
Tom Felter, Jr. has worked in Emergency Medical Services for over 30 years, with additional experience as a police officer and firefighter. He first developed and presented The Emily Talk in February of 2015. Since then, he and his daughter Emily have presented The Emily Talk dozens of times across the region, state, and country. Emily Felter is a 28-year-old self-advocate who plays an active role in teaching others about Down syndrome and disability by interacting with others before, after, and sometimes during The Emily Talk. The Emily Talk is a presentation that she inspired her paramedic father to develop and its aim is to teach first responders about the disability community. Wife and mother Tina Felter has been a nurse for over 30 years. She is currently the Clinical Manager of Labor and Delivery at Northwest Health – Porter. Tina provides key support to both Tom and Emily to make sure they have what they need to be successful. She also makes sure mothers who give birth to a baby with Down syndrome in her labor and delivery unit have all of the information they need to move forward.