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Autism Focus of Film Festival

The "Hearts Like Ours" film festival aims to raise awareness and funds for autism.
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The "Hearts Like Ours" festival will begin at 7 p.m., April 23, at the Don Powell Theater.

In celebration of Autism Awareness Month, the San Diego State University School of Theatre, Television, and Film, along with the Autism Society of San Diego, Tender Loving Canines and Sierra Academy will present the “Hearts Like Ours” Film Festival.

Three short films by SDSU students will be shown and all proceeds of this event will go to Autism Society Summer Camps and to Sierra Academy film and music programs for students with autism.

The films are intend to raise awareness about autism, and the festival will highlight the local talent using their craft to promote social awareness of autism.

About the festival

The festival will begin at 7 p.m., April 23, at the Don Powell Theater. Tickets can be acquired at the door with a recommended $10 ($5 student) donation by cash or check. Donations can also be made online here.

All three of the films are thesis projects from emerging filmmakers who are recent graduates of the Master of Arts Television, Film, and New Media Production program at SDSU.

The films range from a heart-felt drama about a lost boy with autism to a documentary about training help dogs, and include a special clip from a film created specifically for the autistic mind.

About the films

Anthony Pang’s “Autistically Speaking, no. 1” is designed to engage and entertain an audience with autism. Drawing from scientific research on autism and firsthand observations from educators and caretakers, the film explores how an individual with autism interacts with the physical world. Pang’s goal is to eventually develop a model of entertainment specifically for the autistic mind.

Directed by Iris Caffin, “Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits” was recently awarded a prestigious Academy of Television Arts and Sciences College Television Award. “Strong Souls, Gentle Spirits” tells the story of eight-year-old Jolena and the road taken by her family to diagnosis autism and to have a service dog placed with the family. The result is an enlightening story of overcoming obstacles and the human-animal bond that develops.

Finally, “El Abuelo” is directed by Stephen Crutchfield, written by Stephen Metcalfe (studio writer for “Pretty Woman”, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”), and produced by Patrick Scott. Metcalfe wrote the “El Abuelo” from a personal perspective, as his teenage son is autistic. The short film features Nick, an autistic boy who does not speak; befriended by an elderly migrant worker, the boy finds his voice.

A question and answer session with the filmmakers and Autism Society representatives will follow the screenings. A number of local non-profit organizations will be on hand to share resources and assistance.

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