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Stories from Another World

I make films featuring autistic people/people on the autism spectrum. When I began this project, I never imagined that I’d discover so much about the incredible people who are members of the autistic community, and I was unaware these amazing individuals would impact my life as much as they have. As a filmmaker I knew I wanted to make a story about someone who felt different to the people around them, and the idea that it should be autistic characters/characters on the spectrum kind of just seemed like the answer.

That’s when I discovered that representation of autism in film was an issue that made many members of the community feel underrepresented. It seemed that even when a person with autism/autistic person was portrayed in film, they were usually played by a neurotypical actor. I wondered why that was the case, and if it could be changed. I held auditions with many spectacular people from the autistic community and realized that not only were they talented actors, but that many felt they would never have an opportunity to act because of judgement towards them.

We made our first short film “The Thunderbird” with about 80% of the cast being autistic individuals/individuals with autism. It was a learning process with mismatched, borrowed camera equipment, but the performance given by our actors was incredible. We ended up making a sequel, and then went on the produce three more films including not only autistic actors/actors with autism, but also other types of individuals who never believed they would have a chance to be in movies (such as those who struggle with mental illness). The short films have been viewed in festivals around the world and have increased awareness and understanding towards individuals in the autism community. I believe that awareness of this type does wonders in promoting love and acceptance towards those who need it most.

We want to produce a feature-length film now. We have written a book of fictional short stories set in an alternate reality called Anotherworld (which is also where the films take place). 100% of the proceeds will go to produce the feature-length film and support these spectacular, talented individuals.

Levi Harris

The views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the NLM Family Foundation.

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