Williams, A&E IndieFilms prep “Life, Animated”

A&E IndieFilms is teaming up with Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams (pictured) for a documentary about an autistic boy who learned to communicate via Disney movies.
August 5, 2014

A&E IndieFilms, the feature film division of A+E Studios, is teaming up with Academy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams (pictured) for a documentary about an autistic boy who learned to communicate via Disney movies.

Life, Animated, based on Ron Suskind’s book of the same title, tells the story of Ron’s son Owen Suskind – an autistic boy who for years could not speak.

The book tells of how Owen memorized dozens of Disney animated movies and then turned them into a language, in order “to express love, pain and joy.” In response, his family learned to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue.

“I’m honored to bring the Suskind family’s touching story to life,” said Williams in a statement.  “Owen is a remarkable young man, and I hope his story will serve as an inspiration for us all.”

The documentary will be Williams’ third, coming on the heels of his 2010 Oscar-winning short Music by Prudence, and his 2013 feature doc debut God Loves Uganda.

Life, Animated represents the culturally relevant, incredible storytelling that has been the lifeblood of A&E IndieFilms,” said David McKillop, A&E Network’s exec VP and general manager. “We are pleased to partner with Roger and Motto’s Julie Goldman to bring this incredible story to the big screen.”

The doc is being made by A&E in association with Motto Pictures, with Goldman (The Kill Team, Gideon’s Army) and Williams serving as producers. McKillop, Molly Thompson and Bob DeBitetto are exec producing.

About The Author
Selina Chignall joins the realscreen team as a staff writer. Prior to working with rs, she covered lobbying activity at Hill Times Publishing. She also spent a year covering the Hill as a journalist with iPolitics. Her beat focused on youth, education, democratic reform, innovation and infrastructure. She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University and a Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.