Last weekend some members of our parent’s group got together at Alderney Landing to shoot a music video – yes you read that right. We’re participating in Atlantic Minds Wide Open , an exciting film festival focused on mental health and building vibrant communities.
The one-day festival is open to everyone and features screenings, panel discussions, and a showing of Crooked Beauty, a documentary that chronicles artist-activist Jacks McNamara’s transformative journey from childhood abuse to psych ward inpatient to pioneering mental health advocacy
You may have read about the festival’s organizer, Dr. Andrew Starzomski, in an article in the Herald last week. This is a man after my own heart, who is using his own love of music and film to help folks tell and share their own stories.
There’s a great quote on the film fest’s Facebook page that feels like such a good fit for ASD kids:
“I attribute my sudden boost in scholastic achievement to the fact that I had finally become comfortable with myself through my movies and cartoons… I had a better self-image and my grades went up.” – Robert Rodrigues, American filmmaker, “Rebel Without a Crew”
Cartoons are a huge hit in our house and I’ve heard of several ASD kids whose self-confidence has been unlocked by theatre and film. Last week’s ‘film shoot’ was a perfect example: kids who normally shy away from the spotlight were there, eager to stand up and share a slice of their own story. They, and their parents, had created bold black and white signs with messages about their gifts and challenges and there were many take-your-breath-away moments when they stood side-by-side grinning in front of the camera.
I can’t wait to see our kids’ faces on the big screen and I thank Andrew and everyone who is supporting the fest. Creating the film festival has already widened our Circle of Friends by introducing our group to a great new ASD family, connecting our group with three awesome film industry folks who donated their time on a sunny Sunday, and given us some exciting opportunities to think about in the future. And it’s given us yet another opportunity to marvel at the many talents of our beloved kids.