FESTIVAL NEWS:

PRESS CONTACT:
Cheri Warner
Weissman/Markovitz Communications
818.760.8995
autfestpr@publicity4all.com


NEW SHORT FILMS ADDED TO AUTFEST LINE-UP (APRIL 22-23) 


AutFest Will Also Feature Q&As with Honorees Ben Affleck and

Pixar Filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera


Los Angeles, Mar. 30, 2017 – AutFest, the first film festival celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen,” today announced the addition of six short films to its first annual film festival on Saturday, April 22 – Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the AMC Orange 30 in Orange, CA. Two of the short films, Even in Death and The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born, were written and directed by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. AutFest will take place during April, Autism Awareness Month.


AutFest will showcase the following short films to screen in its 2017 program on Saturday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.:


·      The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born / U.S.A. (Director: Dani Bowman)

In the first part of The Adventures of Pelican Pete trilogy, A Bird is Born tells a story of how Pelican Pete's parents started building nests and raising their young. Based on the locally renown books by Hugh & Frances Kaiser, this movie is geared towards children and adults of all ages to teach them about ecology. (6 min.)


§  The Buddy System / U.S.A. (Director: William Harris and Megan Smith-Harris)

Reveals how a dog really does make a difference in the life of a child with autism. (59 min.)


§  Even in Death / U.S.A. (Director: Zac Davis)

Chronicles a day in the life of Jonah, a young boy living in New Orleans who is about to experience a loss in his family. Faced with grief, Jonah is visited by the Grim Reaper (Death) and is taken on a charming adventure through New Orleans that ends with Jonah learning a lesson in life and the true depth of love. (11 min.)


§  The Fox / U.S.A. (Director: Donna Lyons)

An offbeat comedy that tells the story of Harry, a 12-year-old boy who believes he’s a fox. (11 min.)


§  Spectrum: Story of the Mind / U.S.A. (Director: Jill Jones)

            Explores autism through the lens of diverse characters on the spectrum, including Dr. Temple             Grandin. (24 min.)


·      When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth / U.S.A. (Director: Adam Smith)

Follows C.J., an 8-year-old autistic boy who lives in an imaginary world of dinosaurs. He spends every lunch and recess alone, playing with dinosaur games or puzzles. He's never had a friend. With the aid of a 2-foot tall robot named KIWI, that is about to change. (7 min.)


Nine feature-length films are slated to screen at the festival. They include The Accountant (followed by a Q&A with honoree Ben Affleck), Asperger’s Are Us, Inside Out (followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera) and the Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated. The full list can be viewed at autfestasa.com.


As previously announced, AutFest will honor Oscar®-winning director, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck and Pixar Animation Studios’ filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera (Inside Out) at the festival’s Closing Ceremony VIP Reception on Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. at at Cafe Tu Tu Tango. The reception will also present awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Audience Award and Best Autistic Filmmaker.


Presented by The Autism Society, AutFest’s mission is to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. AutFest wishes to further advance the well-being of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism.


AutFest sponsors include Hyundai, AMC Theatres, Bob Wright, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Autism Guardian Angels, Fullerton Cares and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Media sponsors include ABC 7 Eyewitness News and Variety.


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ABOUT AUTFEST:

AutFest International Film Festival’s mission is to further advance the wellbeing of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate our nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism.  We wish to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and that have the power to enhance the lives of our community.  We also wish to honor and support Autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. For more information, visit autfestasa.com or follow

AutFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


ABOUT THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA:

Founded in 1965, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, and exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism.  We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocation for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education and research.  The Society maintains a strong nationwide network of affiliates to provide support and grassroots advocacy at local, state and federal levels. www.autism-society.org



“AUTFEST,” THE FIRST ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL DEDICATED TO AUTISM AWARENESS, ANNOUNCES ITS APRIL 22-23 PROGRAM LINEUP


Oscar®-Winners Ben Affleck and Pixar Filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera to Be Honored


Presented by the Autism Society and AMC Theaters®, AutFest Celebrates

“From Spectrum to Screen” in Orange County


Los Angeles, Mar. 8, 2017 – AutFest, the first film festival solely dedicated to an autistic audience and filmmakers, today announced its official program selections for its first annual film festival celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen.” Presented by The Autism Society, AutFest will screen over 10 feature films and short films that promote autism awareness and/or are made by autistic filmmakers. As previously announced, AutFest will also honor Oscar®-winning director, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck and Oscar–winning Pixar Animation Studios’ filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera (Inside Out). AutFest takes place Saturday, April 22 – Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the AMC Orange 30 in Orange, CA.


The 1st Annual AutFest International Film Festival is proud to present the following feature films to play in its 2017 program:


§  The Accountant / U.S.A. (Director: Gavin O’Connor)

Sun, Apr. 23 at 5:00 p.m. followed by Q&A with actor Ben Affleck

As a math savant uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise. Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons.

·      Asperger's Are Us / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Lehmann)
Sat, Apr. 22 at 2:20 p.m.
In this coming of age documentary, four friends on the Autism spectrum whom have bonded through humor and performed as the comedy troupe "Asperger's Are Us" will prepare for one final, ambitious show before going their separate ways.


§  Destiny / China (Director: Zhang Wei)

Sun, Apr. 23 at 10:30 a.m.

Portrays conflicts in the lives of an autistic child and his mother. Cast: Llian Jingke, Feng Jun, Zhao Ju.

§  Inside Out / U.S.A. (Directors: Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen)

Sun, Apr. 23 at 12:20 p.m. followed by Q&A with director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera

After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school. Cast: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black.

§  Jack of the Red Hearts / U.S.A. (Director: Janet Grillo)

Sat, Apr. 22 at 6:00 p.m.

A teenage con artist tricks a desperate mother into hiring her as a live-in companion for her autistic daughter. Cast: AnnaSophia Robb, Famke Janssen, Scott Cohen.

·      Life, Animated / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ross Williams)
Sat, Apr. 22 at 7:55 p.m. followed by a panel
The inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. 


§  Po / U.S.A. (Director: John Asher)

Sun, Apr. 23 at 2:50 p.m. followed by a Q&A with the director and actor Julian Feder

A father grows apart from his special needs son after his wife dies. Cast: Christopher Gorham, Julian Feder, Kaitlin Doubleday.

§  Redha (Beautiful Pain) / Malaysia (Director: Tunku Mona Riza)

Sat, Apr. 22 at 12:15 p.m.

Upon the discovery that their only son Danial is autistic, Alina and Razlan's world crumbles as they struggles to confront the harsh realities of raising a child disabled by a condition they hardly knew about. Cast: Harith Haziq, Remy Ishak, June Lojong

§  Swim Team / U.S.A. (Director: Lara Stolman)

Sat, April 22 at 3:50 p.m. followed by Q&A with director Lara Stolman.

A feature length documentary that chronicles the overwhelming struggles and extraordinary triumphs of 3 young athletes with autism and shows how a swim team can bring hope to a community.


More films will be announced in upcoming weeks.


AutFest will conclude with a Closing Ceremony VIP Reception on Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. at Cafe Tu Tu Tango (adjacent to the theater). A number of special awards will be handed out including honorary awards to Ben Affleck and Pixar’s Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera. Award categories include Best Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Audience Award and Best Autistic Filmmaker.


Celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen,” AutFest is the first film festival solely dedicated to an autism audience and filmmakers. Its mission is to further advance the well-being of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism. AutFest wishes to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession.


AutFest is also inviting student graphic designers to create a festival poster that depicts the festival’s theme “from spectrum to screen.” Winning posters will be used as the festival’s official poster as well as for official materials such as t-shirts and postcards. The contest is hosted by We Are Lions, a marketplace for products created and designed by individuals with disabilities. More details about the poster contest can be found at http://www.autfestasa.com/poster-art-contest/.


AutFest Honorary Committee Members include seven-time Emmy® winner and autism advocate Ed Asner, actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies), actor Dax Shepard (CHIPS), Emmy-winning actress comedian Sarah Silverman, Golden Globe®-nominated actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Emmy-nominated actor Gary Cole (Veep), Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright, The Suzanne Wright Foundation president Liz Feld, Warner Bros. president and CCO Peter Roth and Autism Society’s VP of Development Matt Asner.


AutFest sponsors include Hyundai, AMC Theatres, Bob Wright and Ainsworth Pet Nutrition.



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ABOUT AUTFEST:

AutFest International Film Festival’s mission is to further advance the wellbeing of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate our nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism.  We wish to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and that have the power to enhance the lives of our community.  We also wish to honor and support Autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. For more information, visit autfestasa.com or follow

AutFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


ABOUT THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA:

Founded in 1965, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, and exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism.  We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocation for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education and research.  The Society maintains a strong nationwide network of affiliates to provide support and grassroots advocacy at local, state and federal levels. www.autism-society.org



BEN AFFLECK AND PIXAR’S PETE DOCTER AND JONAS RIVERA TO BE
HONORED AT AUTFEST, THE FIRST ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL
DEDICATED TO AUTISM AWARENESS ON APRIL 22-­23

Presented by the Autism Society and AMC Theaters®, AutFest Celebrates

“From Spectrum to Screen” April 22-­23 in Orange County


Los Angeles, Feb. 14, 2017 – Oscar®-­winning director, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck joins Oscar–
winning Pixar Animation Studios’ filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera in receiving special
honors at the 1st Annual AUTFEST International Film Festival presented by The Autism Society on
April 22-­23, 2017 at the AMC Orange 30 in Orange, CA. The announcement was made by Matthew
Asner, VP of Development for The Autism Society.


Said Scott Badesch, President of Autism Society of America: "The first Annual AutFest International
Film Festival is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the role film is now playing in autism
awareness. We are proud to honor outstanding filmmakers Ben Affleck, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera,
for their cinematic portrayals of the complexity of human emotions, as we can see with our two
spotlighted films The Accountant and Inside Out.


Celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen,” AutFest is the first film festival solely
dedicated to an autistic audience and filmmakers. Its mission is to further advance the well-­being of all
with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully
respect and value each person with autism. AutFest wishes to celebrate films that promote autism
awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession.


“For more than eight years we’ve been honored to partner with the Autism Society through our regular screenings of AMC Sensory Friendly Films, which allows families with special needs to see films in a welcoming environment,” said Nikkole Denson-­Randolph, Vice President, Alternative & Special Content, AMC Theatres. “We’re thrilled to continue that partnership by serving as the host of this important, impactful event.”


A number of special awards will be handed out at a special ceremony at the conclusion of AutFest including Best Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress as well as an Audience Award. A Best Autistic Filmmaker Award will be presented to an autistic filmmaker.


AutFest is also inviting student graphic designers to create a festival poster that depicts the festival’s theme “from spectrum to screen.” Winning posters will be used as the festival’s official poster as well as for official materials such as t-­shirts and postcards. The contest is hosted by We Are Lions, a marketplace for products created and designed by individuals with disabilities. More details about the poster contest can be found at http://www.autfestasa.com/poster-­art-­contest/.


AutFest Honorary Committee Members include seven-­time Emmy® winner and autism advocate Ed Asner, actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies), actor Dax Shepard (CHIPS), Emmy-­winning actress comedian Sarah Silverman, Golden Globe®-­nominated actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things),
Emmy-­nominated actor Gary Cole (Veep), Autism Speaks co-­founder Bob Wright, The Suzanne Wright Foundation president Liz Feld, Warner Bros. president and CCO Peter Roth and Autism Society’s VP of Development Matt Asner.


ABOUT BEN AFFLECK:
Two time Oscar-winning actor, producer and director Ben Affleck, gained fame when he and childhood friend Matt Damon won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting. He then starred in high-profile films including Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love, Pearl Harbor, Changing Lanes, and The Sum of All Fears. Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Hollywoodland.


Affleck directed and starred in Live By Night which was released last month, and appeared in The Accountant last year. He also took on the role of superhero in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the DC Comics ensemble Suicide Squad. Affleck’s work has earned him two Academy Awards®, three Golden Globes® and countless other awards. In addition to his successful film career, Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, an organization whose mission is to increase both the quality and number of investments for citizens of Eastern Congo.


ABOUT PETE DOCTER:
Pete Docter is the Oscar-­winning director/co-­writer behind Pixar’s Inside Out, which was praised by both critics and members of the autism community. As a member of Pixar Animation Studio’s “Braintrust,” Docter has worked on films such as Up, Inside Out, Up, Wall-­E, Toy Story and Monsters Inc., which has earned him two Academy Awards (for Up and Inside Out – Best Animated Feature) and eight total nominations.


Docter was one of the three key screenwriters behind the concept of Toy Story, and partially based the character of Buzz Lightyear on himself. He had a mirror on his desk and made faces with it as he conceptualized the character. He has been an integral part of some of Pixar's most seminal works, including Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life, all of which received critical acclaim and honors.


ABOUT JONAS RIVERA:
Jonas Rivera is the Oscar-­winning producer behind Inside Out and Up and one of Pixar’s earliest employees. Rivera worked his way up from his 1994 internship to advanced production roles on nearly every subsequent Pixar film until the studio's Oscar-­winning film Up. His Best Picture Academy Award nomination for Up made him the first Pixar Animation Studios producer ever to receive this honor.


TICKETS:
To purchase festival passes or tickets, please go to autfestasa.com


PRESS CREDENTIALS:
To request press passes or credentials, please go to http://bit.ly/2lm27NO.


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ABOUT AUTFEST:
AutFest International Film Festival’s mission is to further advance the wellbeing of all with an autism
diagnosis, as well as to educate our nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value
each person with autism. We wish to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and that have the
power to enhance the lives of our community. We also wish to honor and support Autistic filmmakers and
artists that have chosen film as their profession. For more information, visit autfestasa.com or follow
AutFest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


ABOUT THE AUTISM SOCIETY OF AMERICA:
Founded in 1965, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, and exists to
improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-­to-­day
issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocation for appropriate services for individuals across
the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education and research. The Society
maintains a strong nationwide network of affiliates to provide support and grassroots advocacy at local, state
and federal levels. www.autism-­society.org


ABOUT AMC THEATRES:
AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the U.S., Europe and the world with approximately 900
theatres and more than 10,000 screens across the globe. AMC has propelled innovation in the exhibition
industry by deploying more plush power-­recliner seats, delivering enhanced food and beverage choices,
generating greater guest engagement through its loyalty program, web site and smart phone apps, offering
premium large format experiences and playing a wide variety of content including independent
programming. AMC operates among the most productive theatres in the United States’ top markets, having
the #1 or #2 market share positions in 22 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas of the United States, including
the top three markets (NY, LA, Chicago). Through its Odeon subsidiary, AMC operates in seven European
countries and is the #1 theatre chain in the UK & Ireland, Italy and Spain. For more information, go to
www.amctheatres.com.


FESTIVAL CONTACTS:
Matt Asner • Autism Society • masner@autism-­society.org
Kayleigh Millet • Autism Society • kmillet@autism-­society.org


PRESS CONTACTS:
Cheri Warner • Nicole Player • Weissman/Markovitz Communications
818.760.8995 • autfestpr@publicity4all.com


SPONSORSHIP CONTACTS:
Ken Rose • 818.999.9356 • KenRose@mac.com
Rhonda Bedikian • 818.522.3624 • rbedikian@gmail.com