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Autism: The Musical

Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Tricia Regan

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Documentarian Regan’s work includes 1996’s “A Leap of Faith” and 2004’s “Soldier’s Pay.”

FINANCING: Pic was initially funded by private nonprofit group In Effect Films, then acquired by Bunim-Murray toward the end of shooting.

THEME: The film follows the stories of five autistic children and their parents as the kids write, rehearse and perform an original musical in Los Angeles under the guidance of drama teacher Elaine Hall, whose son is among the five.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “Eloquently attesting to the transformative power of theater, ‘Autism: The Musical’… proves as riveting as it is revelatory.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: The film premiered at Tribeca and has consistently sold out its 14-city run, based solely on word of mouth. In April, it will air on HBO.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: “I definitely pushed myself to the very limits in making this film,” Regan says. “I was away from home, there was no money, and I really just kept going to the deepest place in myself and looking for guidance there. I feel like there were divine hands guiding this film all along the way because it should have fallen apart so many times. The process has really gotten me to a place of understanding where my creative voice is and how to access it. On a more concrete level, learning about these kids and spending time with them, I realized that just as we all look different, we all have different neurological systems. The truth is, we’re all a little autistic.”

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