Double Visions

A Portsmouth family — living with the challenges of mitochondrial disease — lets us venture into their world.

“Deaf Perception” opens with the title, “This film has been captioned for the signing impaired,” ushering the hearing into the world of 16-year-old twin deaf filmmakers Alyssa and Ashley Dole.

With this, their debut movie, the sisters follow the lead of their father, Marc Dole, CEO and founder of Portsmouth’s Hatchling Studio. Last year, he, wife Wanda Dole and business partner Karlina Lyons produced “Mito-Kids,” an award-winning documentary that captured life in the Dole household.

The films are both about living with mitochondrial disease — all four of the Doles’ daughters have it. It is suspected to be an underlying cause behind disorders such as deafness, diabetes, Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, autism and ADD.

Sifting through more than 100 hours of home videos, Marc created “Mito-Kids” as a 15-minute glimpse into their life to illustrate the potential a full-length documentary could have. “We want people to learn about the disease behind many diseases,” says Marc.

The twins’ film echoes those themes but from an even more personal perspective. “I want people to understand that we’re different because of our health issues, but we’re not different as people,” says Alyssa. The film was shot this spring with help from more than 50 area filmmakers.

Says Lyons, who also helped produce “Deaf Perception,” “The message is clear that mitochondrial disorder doesn’t stop these kids or this family from doing great things.”

To carry those messages to a larger audience, filmmakers are now seeking help in financing the feature project.

The two films will appear in the Cannes Short Film Corner and will screen at Red River Theatres in Concord June 24 at 6 and at 8 p.m., plus other locations, TBA. Visit

— By Dana Biscotti Myskowski

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