Director: Roger Ross Williams
Director of photography: Tom Bergmann
Editor: Richard Hankin
Animation: Mac Guff
Producers: Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Sean Lyness
A story about a child with autism, expressing himself through memorized lines and situations from the animated movies he loves. 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.
About the author
Roger Ross Williams – The first African – American director to win an Academy Award for documentary short, Music by Prudence (2010). Life Animated is his second feature documentary after the critically acclaimed God Loves Uganda (2013). Prior to moving into independent filmmaking, Williams was an acclaimed television journalist and producer for over 15 years (TV Nation, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central and Sundance Channel).
Festivals and awards
Sundance Film Festival (USA), Directing Award
IDFA (The Netherlands), Audience Award, 2nd place
Annie Awards (USA), Special Achievement Award
San Francisco International Film Festival (USA), Audience Award
Budapest International Documentary Festival (Hungary), Student Jury Award
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (USA), Audience Award
Heartland Film (USA), Truly Moving Picture Award
Nantucket Film Festival (USA), Audience Award
National Board of Review (USA), NBR Award
Hot Docs (Canada)
Melbourne International Film Festival (Australia)
Stockholm Film Festival (Sweeden)
Seattle International Film Festival (USA)