Interview with Olley Edwards, filmmaker, author and campaigner for women on the autistic spectrum


Olley Edwards

UK – Olley Edwards is an author, actress and film director. She tirelessly campaigns on the rights for autistic women and for better and early diagnosis. Olley is the mother to two girls who are on the autistic spectrum,  and she was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. She attended the UN Conference for Economic Commission for Europe; highlighting this issues of autism and women, and has spoken at many conferences and venues on the subject of females and autism diagnosis. She was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour about her own personal diagnostic experience. In May this year we covered Olley’s new short documentary film, Epidemic of Knowledge, that explores the reality of autism diagnosis in females by sharing Olley’s story. Our article can be read here,

We caught up with Olley and asked her some questions about her film, and her recent experiences at the Cannes Film Festival.

Below is our interview with Olley.

Can you tell us a little about your experience at the Canne Film Festival?

Cannes was an incredible experience. I would watch Cannes on the TV from home for years and had always dreamt of going. I was worried that the reality of Cannes may not live up to the expectations but expectations were surpassed, Cannes was everything I had hoped and more. To be able to go with the aim of raising awareness on Autism and girls was just a dream come true. Producer Clive and I were really surprised how laid back, approachable and down to earth everyone was. There was no point where even “new comers” were made to feel any different to the seasoned professionals. I would recommened Cannes to anyone who makes, writes or prouduces films on any level

How was the film received? 

Epidemic of Knowledge was well recieved by those who watched it in Short film corner. It was a great way to raise awareness as the whole point of Cannes short film corner is to network and discuss your film with as many people as possiable. I really feel in doing so, that the subject of Autism and girls has reached more people that are not touched by Auitism in own lives, and , even better I managed to make friends and meet with other film professionals that have Autism in their life and this was truly lovely! I have made some life long friends. Epidemic of Knowledge was in the short film corner rather than in competition so no laurels to be gained. Epidemic of knowledge has however won Laurels in other festivals now. Epidemic of knowledge was the Winner in disability issues genre in San Francisco, The Winner of an award of merit in disbaility issues at Indie fest California and was the Finalist in Womens issues in Florida

Can you tell me about the Peace and Film festival? 

Yes ! This is a very exciting event held in America , the “International Peace and Film Festival ” takes place in Florida in November. People go form all over the world I am going there to do a 40 minute presentation on the subject of females, autism and diagnosis. Epidemic of Knowledge will also be shown. It’s really great way to raise acceptance and understanding for females over the world and I am delighted to be invited

When will our readers be able to watch Epidemic of Knowledge and where can they do so? 

The trailer has just gone up on YouTube but the documentary itself is still not online. This is a real shame as we are desperate to share with as many people as we can, however as the documentary is still very much in the festivals stage, we are not able to upload online due to regulations. Our aim is to have the film online for Autism Awareness month, April 2016. In the meantime any festivals that we are fortunate enough to be accepted into will be posted onto the Epidemic of Knowledge Facebook page. (link)Therefore people, if local can get tickets for the event. As of September onwards we should start hearing about accpetance of UK festivals.

Below you can watch the trailer for Epidemic of Knowledge.

Our interview continues on page 2.