Abu Dhab – A documentary on autism featuring children on the spectrum from the United Arab Emirates will premier at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Titled “As One”, the documentary tells the story of 10 children between the ages of 4 and 17 as they participate in the The Autism Project by taking music and theater workshops that end with a grand musical number.
The Autism Project was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to help raise autism awareness.
As One is the first feature length documentary produced by Image Nation, a subsidiary of The National’s publisher Abu Dhabi Media.
Two brothers on the spectrum Fathi and Omar extremely enjoyed making the film. Their mother Suha Abu Laila met with The National to talk about their experience:
“Where previously both Fathi and Omar had found it difficult to interact with others, the film has enabled them to make friends with children just like them,”
adding that the change she sees in her bright boys is wonderful, especially for Omar. He has trouble communicating but his face lights up every time he watches the film.
All children featured in the film are on different levels of the spectrum, but the documentary’s producer Hana Makki told The National that working with them was a real privilege. The families enjoyed the experience as well, noting that the film reminds them they are not alone in their struggle.
Chief Executive of Image Nation Michael Garin met with The National, saying that:
“Image Nation is immensely proud of our first documentary, As One. It is our hope that the film helps shed light on the condition of autism while celebrating this group of talented and gifted young people.”
The Abu Dhabi Film Festival will take place at Emirates Palace on October 25 at 11am.
The original article on The National website can be read here
Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead.