Ajyal Film Festival 2022

All Films

The Reason I Jump

Ajyal Competition

Jerry Rothwell / Feature Documentary / United Kingdom, United States of America / 2020 / 82 min / Colour
In English, Krio
Interests: Documentary
MENA Premiere


Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, ‘The Reason I Jump’ is an immersive cinematic exploration of neurodiversity through the experiences of non-speaking autistic people from around the world. The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe— with the compelling narrative power to irrevocably change how you think about an often-misunderstood community.
The film is a deeply profound and compassionate call for understanding, lending a powerful voice to those living with autism. Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of a young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does—the reason he jumps. The film distils these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

About the Directors

Born in 1962, Jerry Rothwell is a documentary filmmaker who helped found the UK Film Council’s First Light programme for young filmmakers. Documentaries include ‘Deep Water’ (2006), which won the Grierson Award in Edinburgh; ‘Heavy Load’ (2008), winner of the Audience Award at Britdoc; and ‘Donor Unknown’ (2010), which won Best Feature at the Tribeca Online Festival and the Audience Award at Silverdocs.


Jerry Rothwell
Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow
David Charap
Executive Producer
Stewart le Maréchal, Jonny Persey, Peter Webber, Jody Allen, Paul G. Allen, Rocky Collins, Jannat Gargi, Ruth Johnston, Carole Tomko, Lizzie Francke
Nainita Desai
Sam Payne
Ruben Woodin Dechamps
Sales Company
Met Film Sales Ltd
Production Company
Met Film Production, The Ideas Room, Runaway Fridge Productions, Vulcan Productions
Sara De Oliveira Lima, Nick Ryan

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