What it feels like - focus on autism
This year's Focus On Ability received around 50 films dealing with what if feels like to live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The ASD community - directors, actors, writers and editors - are really making an impression with their stories.
One of the strongest entries was the inspiration for the title of this blog. International documentary entrant Steven Fraser's What It Feels Like
uses hand-drawn animated flipping cards to convey something of, indeed, what it feels like to live daily with ASD.
In just 3.5 minutes, Luca Fox's Open short film, Act Natural
, uses internal narration during a conversation to highlight the challenge of a person with ASD trying to engage in a conversation, gauging what to say and when to say it.
Many of the films centred around ASD use internal narration to help viewers understand what it feels like. In this way, school entry, Autism - One Day At A Time
goes through a typical school day for Brianna.
Actor Peter Rosini plays the role of Peter in Sebastian Chan's Bus Trip
, which is just as much about bullying and courage as autism. It's a great film where the 'good guys win'!
Courage is one of the themes to come through strongly in this suite of films. Unfortunately, bullying is another. It's a point well made in Blaxland High School's Awesomism
, a series of interviews in which students with ASD talk straight about trust, making friends, bullying, understanding and even what they think of the word autism.
Another school entry, White Noise
, by Matraville Sports High School, demonstrates the intensity of sound, sight and feeling for the protagonist if he can't use his noise-cancelling headphones during his day to day. It's awful. He calls them his 'lifeline'. Check it out.
Finally, Look For Me
is effective because it is gentle and simple. In a similar way to White Noise, Miriam Fox (UK) uses sound, but also movement to help us understand the life of a schoolgirl on the autism spectrum.