October 25, 2016

C. Groppa CC by Autism In Love
C. Groppa CC by Autism In Love

We all want to fall in love. We all want to find the one, settle down, have children and be happy. This can be a challenge for those of us with average intellectual, emotional capabilities and social skills. Imagine how much harder it is for those who lack the typical skills for developing social connections.

“Autism in Love” is a feature length documentary about people with autism searching for and maintaining romantic relationships.  The documentary, which features autistic adults, is currently in production and expected to be released next year.

S. Uhlfelder  CC by Autism In Love
S. Uhlfelder CC by Autism In Love

The team behind the film consists of director Matt Fuller, an award winning filmmaker, story teller and social change advocate; producer Carolina Groppa, a passionate filmmaker dedicated to telling powerful and compelling stories;cinematographer Scott Uhlfelder who’s gone above and beyond to compose the film’s beautiful shots; and Ira Heilveil Ph.D and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA Medical School.

Individuals on the autism spectrum have characteristics that make it problematic to interact in social situations in ways that are deemed appropriate. These characteristics range from a certain resistance to being held or touched to a preference of being alone, aloft or overly friendly.

M. Fuller CC by Autism In Love
M. Fuller CC by Autism In Love

In April, the “Autism in Love” team did an interview on HuffPost Live. Relationships are a mystery to all of us. For some, finding the one is similar to searching for a ‘needle in a haystack’. But imagine searching for love and dating while experiencing autism. “Autism in Love” looks at these issues and yet it shows that there is hope for the autistic. It shows that love is still an option and that finding a soulmate, though hard, is a possibility.

Since the idea of “Autism in Love” was introduced and presented, there have been fundraisers to help acquire the financial aid needed to produce the documentary. Independent filmmaking is an uphill battle, especially when it comes to raising the funds needs to tell a story that matches the professionalism an audience expects out of a big budget Hollywood film. Earlier this year, the “Autism in Love” team released a Kickstarter campaign to raise post-production funds. Although they were unsuccessful, 379 people vouched that they believed in their vision and others even donated privately via PayPal after the fact. Thanks to Poolhouse a collective of philanthropic and generous professionals, a fundraiser and silent auction took place this past June in Santa Monica. It featured restaurant vouchers, events, getaways and rare auction items. The team is still continuing to raise funds and accept donations.

Howard CC by Autism In Love
Howard CC by Autism In Love

Based on the sizzle reel, which is a piece that shows the one of the project, not a trailer, the documentary features real autistic adults who are searching for, have experienced, and are experiencing love. One of the major quotes from Howard, a character in the film; “Being autistic is like being AM radio in a broadband Internet world. Broadband might be better but we still have AM radio…. we just need more people to tune in.” Howard is autistic and works as a crossing guard. He too is looking for love.

Feelings like Howard’s are not uncommon. The question now lies in how well this documentary will fulfill its purpose. Will “Autism in Love” be able to adequately portray the journey for love and maintaining relationships for those on the autism spectrum? The creators seem to think so.

To find out more “Autism in Love” about visit their Facebook Page here.


About the author 

Kayla Wright

Kayla Wright is a final year Journalism Major student from The University of West Indies in Jamaica. She has a breadth of experience in all aspects of media, ranging from audio to video editing and presentation. Kayla is also learning more about journalism hands on with her work at Newstalk93.fm

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