LIFE, ANIMATED

Directed by Roger Ross Williams
PG / 89 minutes / US / 2016
A Q&A with director Roger Ross Williams will follow the screening.

Tickets available at Upstate Film Woodstock

Life, Animated

ABOUT LIFE, ANIMATED:
Directed by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams, LIFE, ANIMATED, based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind’s best-selling book Life Animated: a story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, tells the real-life inspirational story of his son Owen, a boy who couldn’t speak for years until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films.


Owen was a thriving three year old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent, unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings or desires. Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to re-connect with the world around him. LIFE, ANIMATED evocatively interweaves classic Disney animated films with verite scenes from Owen and his family’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.This emotional coming-of-age story, a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can help us survive and thrive, follows Owen as he becomes a young adult and takes his first steps toward independence. For more info, visit LIFE, ANIMATED website

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
The first film that Roger Ross Williams directed and produced was Music by Prudence, which won the 2010 Academy Award® for documentary short subject; he is the first African American director to win an Academy Award. Williams next directed the feature documentary God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to enormous critical acclaim and went on to screen at over 60 film festivals worldwide, winning more than a dozen awards before being shortlisted for a 2014 Academy Award®.

Prior to moving into independent filmmaking, Williams was an acclaimed television journalist and producer for over 15 years for outlets including: TV Nation, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central and Sundance Channel.

LIFE, ANIMATED is his second feature documentary, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Blackface, his short film on the tradition of Black Pete in the Netherlands for CNN Films, premiered in November 2015 to enormous controversy and sparked a national debate on racism and the legacy of slavery. Williams presently has several projects in development including Traveling While Black, an interactive project that will feature a Virtual Reality component designed by renowned VR artist Oscar Raby; and a feature documentary about the prison industrial complex for The Why? Foundation, which will be broadcast in over 50 countries, reaching an audience of over 500 million around the world.

Williams serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Sundance Institute. He frequently mentors filmmakers from the developing world and under-represented communities on how to channel personal adversity into their art. Williams splits his time between upstate New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

 

CO PRESENTED BY WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL & UPSTATE FILMS
The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501(C)(3) organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity.