Life, Animated

USA | 2016 | 91 minutes | Roger Ross Williams

A young autistic man emerges from his internal life after his father discovers that they can communicate through dialogue from beloved Disney films in a beautiful and remarkable story based on the best-selling book by journalist Ron Suskind. 

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When Owen Suskind was three years old, he suddenly stopped talking and seemed to essentially disappear from his family into a place inside his own head. Owen appeared to have been hit with late-onset autism, and his parents were devastated. But his father, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, would not give up that easily. Noticing that his son was constantly mesmerized by watching Disney movies over and over, he decided to attempt to communicate with his son through characters and quotes from films like Aladdin, Dumbo, and Hercules, among others. Soon Owen was able to express himself through memorized lines and situations from the animated movies he loved, and after several years of silence was finally connecting again with his family. This compelling documentary by Academy Award® winner Roger Ross Williams is based on Ron Suskind's best-selling book, "Life Animated: a Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism," and combines interviews with Owen (now 23) and his family, clips from the classic Disney movies they hold so dear, and animated allegories highlighting one autistic boy's journey out of the dark.

Director Biography
Roger Ross Williams was the first African-American director to win an Academy Award® for a documentary short, Music by Prudence. Life, Animated is his second feature documentary after the critically acclaimed God Loves Uganda. The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where he won the U.S. Documentary Directing Award.

Sponsored by W Seattle Hotel, MOViN 92.5, CTI BioPharma

  • Director: Roger Ross Williams
  • Principal Cast: Owen Suskind, Ron Suskind, Cornelia Suskind, Walter Suskind
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 91 minutes
  • Producer: Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman
  • Screenplay: Roger Ross Williams, David Teague
  • Cinematographers: Tom Bergmann
  • Editors: David Teague
  • Music: Todd Griffin, Dylan Stark
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Sundance Film Festival 2016 (U.S. Documentary Directing Award), Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016 (Audience Award)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: The Orchard
  • International Sales: Submarine Entertainment