Ajyal Competition - Ajyal Youth Film Festival 2016
At the age of three, Owen Suskind suddenly withdrew from the world. His speech development and motor skills deteriorated rapidly, and he ceased communicating with his family. A visit to a paediatrician delivered a diagnosis of autism. It was possible Owen would never speak again; certainly, his future integration into the daily life of the rest of society would be a considerable challenge.
Autistic people differ from the majority of the population in a number of fundamental ways. It is hard for them to communicate, and language and abstract concepts are difficult to grasp, so making sense of the world can be daunting, if not overwhelming. A further element of autism, however, is what is known as “restricted behaviour” – an extreme preoccupation with something. In Owen’s case, that something was the animated films of Walt Disney Studios.
By learning the dialogue and narratives of Disney films by heart, Owen became able to comprehend emotions and social situations by finding comparable elements in scenes from ‘Dumbo’, ‘Peter Pan’, ‘The Lion King’ and just about any other Disney film you can think of. In telling Owen’s story, ‘Life, Animated’ provides an uplifting look at the power of storytelling, the magic of the movies, and the incredible resourcefulness of the human mind.
About the Director
Roger Ross Williams is the director of ‘God Loves Uganda’, which had its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was received with critical acclaim, and ‘Music by Prudence’, which won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). His latest film, ‘Life, Animated’, is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind. Williams was the first African American to win an Academy Award for directing or producing a film.
- Roger Ross Williams
- Roger Ross Williams, David Teague
- Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman
- David Teague
- Dylan Stark, T. Griffin
- Tom Bergmann
- Sales Company
- Dogwoof Global
- Production Company
- Motto Pictures