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Friday, April 22, 2016

LIFE, ANIMATED

A Tribeca Film Festival 2016 Selection

By D.E.Levine\

A feel-good film with a happy ending that everyone should see.

This is a true story about Owen Susskind, an autistic boy, whose fascination with Disney animated movies provided a source to learning, speech and progress that enables him to live a meaningful relatively normal life.

Originally documented by his father Ron Susskind in a 2014 book, Owen was "normal" until age 3 when he stopped speaking, had irrgular sleeping patterns and became stoic and cognitively impaired.

Devasted, his parents Ron and Corneilia received a diagnosis of pervaisive developmental disorder which would make Owen dependent on others for the remainder of his life.

In an ironic twist, during a family viewing of The Little Mermaid, Owen insisted onreplaying a particular scene and then began to mutter gibberish.  But, it wasn't gibberish.  His parents and   brother Walter realized that Owen had memoized the movie dialogue and was repeating it.  In
 fact, not only had Owen memorized the entire Disney film, he had memorized the complete dialogue from all the Disney animated films.

Owen's remarkable journey to speech, interrelationships with peers, working at a job, moving into his own apartment and even having a girlfriend are beautifully documented using home movies from his childhood and realtime film meeting his challenges.  In fact, Owen became a high-functioning adult in his 20>s who can spea, read and write, and a motivational speaker.

Even now, after having traveled abroad with his family. Owen maintains his library of VHS and DVD animated Disney films and frequently holds group viewings for his friends,

Owen is a celebrated case and it is still a mystery as to exactly why the cartoon claasics were able to reach Owen and create the effect they did within him.

 Regardless, of his journey and the results of his obsession with Disney cartoon classics, Owen's main strength comes from his family -- always supportive, financially capable of providing him specialized help. amd deeply commited to helping Owen grow and become a contributing member of society,


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