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
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.