Autism: The Musical
|Autism: The Musical|
|Directed by||Tricia Regan|
|Produced by||Tricia Regan
|Written by||Tricia Regan|
Wyatt O' Neil
|Music by||Mike Semple|
|Edited by||Kim Roberts|
|Distributed by||HBO Documentary Films|
Autism: The Musical is an independent documentary film directed by Tricia Regan. In April 2007, the film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. The film recounts six months of the lives of five children who are on the autism spectrum in Los Angeles, California as they write and rehearse for an original stage production.
The film recounts six months in the 2005-06 lives of five children with autism and their parents in Los Angeles, California as their children write and rehearse for an original stage production. Among the children, Henry Stills is an expert on dinosaurs and a budding comedian; Adam Mandela Walden plays the cello and sings in the film. The other children featured in the film have one or more things they excel at doing if only given the training they need to communicate and develop those skills.
Several of the parents appearing in the film are well known in his or her own right. For example, Rosanne Katon-Walden was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its September 1978 issue and her husband Richard Walden (Operation USA) is the president and chief executive officer of Operation USA, an international organization that shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its work as part of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. American guitarist and singer/songwriter Stephen Stills is "Stills" in the renowned rock band Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young). They and the other parents round out a cast of real-life parents struggling with their strained marriages while dealing with the sometimes overwhelming needs of their children with autism.
An idea for the film was first raised in July 2005 as a potential 48 Hour Film Project, but did not materialize. However, in that same year, noted acting coach Elaine Hall founded The Miracle Project, a nonprofit, Sherman Oaks, California based theater group for children with autism and other disabilities. In late 2005, Tricia Regan began filming the six-month rehearsal process at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services recreation room in Los Angeles. Regan is said to have collected more than 400 hours of raw material, winnowing the documentary to five complementary family narratives. The title of the film emerged only in the late stages of editing.
In March 2007, reality show producers Bunim/Murray Productions expanded its business into films and made Autism: The Musical its first acquisition. Bunim/Murray Productions came on board toward the end of shooting to join In Effect Films in producing the film.
After its premiere on April 18, 2007 at Robert De Niro's sixth annual Tribeca Film Festival, the film enjoyed a limited theatrical run in several US cities in 2007. Among its many awards, the film received the best documentary award at the 10th annual Newport International Film Festival in June 2007. The film was purchased for broadcast beginning March 25, 2008 by HBO.
The film was released on DVD in 2008 by Docurama Films.
On November 19, 2007, Autism: The Musical was named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of 15 films on its documentary feature Oscar short list. The film has won awards at 7 major film festivals in the U.S. Following its television broadcast on HBO, the film garnered two 2008 Emmy awards, for nonfiction film editing as well as "Outstanding Nonfiction Special".
- List of films about Autism
- Dad's in Heaven with Nixon
- The Horse Boy
- Recovered: Journeys Through the Autism Spectrum and Back
- Autism spectrum disorders in the media
- Stanley Greenspan - His floortime approach to engage Autism inspired Elaine Hall to create The Miracle Project, the subject of Autism: The Musical.
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- [dead link]
- The Hollywood Reporter Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hart, Hugh. (March 23, 2008) New York Times *A Season of Song, Dance and Autism. Section: AR; Page 20.