The Accountant, Po and Swim Team Among Films Awarded for Celebrating Autism Awareness
Oscar winning actor Ben Affleck, Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, AutFest founder Matt Asner and several filmmakers were honoured yesterday for their film making contributions to autism awareness at the first annual AutFest International Film Festival on 22 to 23 April 2017 in Orange, California.
Seven times Emmy winner and autism advocate Ed Asner presented Affleck with the AutFest Awareness Award at the festival closing reception at Café Tu Tu Tango. Prior to the reception Affleck participated in a Question and Answer session moderated by ABC7 reporter George Pennacchio after a screening of his 2016 film The Accountant in which he portrayed a forensic accountant on the autism spectrum.
Earlier in the day, Oscar winning Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera were honoured by Asner with the AutFest Vanguard Award after a screening of their film Inside Out at AMC Orange 30. The filmmakers discussed the autism communities embracing of their film in a Question and Answer session with moderator Terry Flores, Senior Editor at Variety. Celebrities such as singer and actress Becky G Power Rangers, David Marciano Homeland, Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson and The Voice season 11 contestant Tarra Layne were on hand to attend the festival closing festivities.
“AutFest is proud to honour outstanding filmmakers Ben Affleck, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera for their cinematic contributions reflecting the autism community,” said Matt Asner, AutFest Founder and Autism Society’s Vice President of Development. “Presented by The Autism Society, AutFest’s mission is to celebrate films that promote autism awareness ‘from spectrum to screen’ and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. We were touched by the overwhelming support of the film making and autism communities and look forward to making this an annual event.” Asner was the recipient of a Golden Goody Award presented by Autism Guardian Angels founder David Luber.
Over nine feature films and six short films were presented during the two day festival that included this year’s Oscar nominated documentary Life, animated and international films from China Destiny and Malaysia Redha. Two of the shorts, Even in Death and The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born, were written and directed by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. Panellists included Po’s director John Asher and actor Julian Feder, as well as an autism sibling panel following the Life, Animated screening.