Sunday, March 30, 2008

April 2nd is World Autism Day

Three documentaries have been produced that offer insight into Autism - "Autism Every Day," "Autism: The Musical" and "Her Name Is Sabine." Each attempts to broaden the public's understanding of the condition.

HBO Premiered Autism: The Musical on Tuesday March 25th at 8PM and runs throughout the month of April.

A Clip from The Film:

About the Documentary

follows the extraordinary acting coach Elaine Hall, five children with autism, and their parents as they heroically mount a full-length original stage production. Through trial and error, tears and laughter, these incredible families learn to communicate their feelings in song and performance, finding solace and joy in the act of creating.

A veritable feast of astounding breakthroughs, this spellbinding film offers a full-throated celebration of kids living with an increasingly prevalent disorder. Director Tricia Regan vividly captures the individual personalities and problems of each child, from precocious Henry who talks a mile-a-minute about dinosaurs, to Neal, a sensitive and articulate boy who nonetheless struggles to speak at all. The parents, too, are fascinating studies in unconditional love, especially Elaine, the mastermind behind the musical and mother of Neal.

A consciousness-raising and empathetic portrait of children and their families living with autism, AUTISM: THE MUSICAL celebrates the spark of humanity in each of us. "Moving, dramatic, therapeutic and unburdened by reliance on talking heads" (Variety), this film will change the way you look at autism.

If you don't have HBO or would prefer to watch AUTISM: The Musical online in its entirety, please visit HBO Documentaries. HBO offers it online free of charge.

About Autism Everyday

The 44 minute documentary premieres on the Sundance Channel on April 2nd.

Autism Everyday

A raw, sometimes harrowing look at 24 hours in the lives of eight families with autistic children, "Autism Every Day" was initially produced to be shown at a benefit for Autism Speaks, the charity founded by Wright and his wife, Suzanne, after their grandson was diagnosed. But after the film "went viral" on YouTube, Thierry expanded it from seven minutes to 44 and submitted it to the Sundance Film Festival, where it was shown last year. It will air on Sundance Channel on April 2, which the United Nations has designated World Autism Awareness Day.

Crosscutting among its unnamed subjects (including the Wrights' daughter Katie), "Autism Every Day" creates a composite picture of the pressures of raising an autistic child. Parents describe children for whom the most basic of bodily functions are arduous tasks, who lash out violently and bite their own limbs. Alison Singer, Autism Speaks' vice president of communications, describes being so distraught at the prospect of placing her daughter in an overcrowded special-needs school that she contemplated driving them both off a bridge.

"Autism Every Day" has drawn criticism for presenting an overly negative view. But Thierry says that diluting the financial and emotional strain that raising a child with autism can place on a family would have contradicted her own experience. "I had a mandate," she says. "Tell it like it is."

A clip of Autism Every Day can be found on Youtube.

For more information about Autism Every Day and
AutismSpeaks Channel on Youtube.

About: Her name is Sabine


An intelligent, moving and beautiful portrait of Sabine, a 38-year-old autistic woman, filmed by her sister, the famous French actress Sandrine Bonnaire. Through personal footage filmed over a period of 25 years, it is revealed that Sabine's growth and many talents were crushed by improper diagnosis and an inadequate care structure. After a tragic five-year stay in a psychiatric hospital, Sabine finally finds a new lease on life in a home together with other young people living with similar mental and emotional illnesses. This very intimate film also sends an urgent message to a society that still does not know how to properly take care of its citizens with physical and psychological disabilities.

Her name is Sabine is available at Amazon.

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