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Nearly 300 attend N.Y. screening of Oscar-nominated movie Life, Animated


The movie screening Life, Animated was followed by a Q&A  session  featuring (from left) film critic Marshall Fine with Ron and Cornelia Suskind.
Photo credit: Holly Taylor

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health’s special screening of the movie Life, Animated was presented to a near sell-out crowd on February 13 in Pelham, N.Y. The event, held in partnership with The Picture House, was followed by a Q&A session with Ron and Cornelia Suskind, the parents featured in the film. 

“The event was amazing – we filled the 300-seat theater,” said Devereux New York Advisory Board Co-Chair Jane Taylor. “There were families, professionals, parents and grandparents of individuals on the autism spectrum looking for encouragement – and people who simply wanted to see a great film. This event did much to erase the stigma of autism and to offer hope to families who need our support.” 

An inspirational movie

Life, Animated, from Academy Award® winning director Roger Ross Williams, is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. Life, Animated has been nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. Click here to learn more. 

Since September 2016, Devereux has hosted six screenings of Life, Animated in the New York area. 

“These events are perfectly aligned with Devereux’s mission,” said Devereux New York Executive Director John Lopez. “The Suskind’s story – and any family’s journey when raising a child with autism – resonates deeply with the individuals and families we serve. Providing hope, unlocking potential, and realizing dreams and goals are connected to the work we do in New York – and across the country – to assist those living with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences. 

“Being able to hold this event at a wonderful facility like The Picture House, in addition to the support and presence of the Suskinds, only added to how amazing the event turned out,” Lopez added. Other Devereux representatives in attendance included Board of Trustees John Gustafsson and James Schwab

A lively Q&A session

Attendees were actively engaged in the Q&A session – featuring Ron and Cornelia Suskind – after the movie. 

Cornelia and Ron are wonderful speakers – open, warm, wise and informative – not to mention entertaining,” said Taylor. “The audience quickly picked up on their energy and felt comfortable asking a wide range of questions. The Suskinds were genuinely interested in understanding what the audience wanted to know.” 

Changing attitudes

As these Devereux-hosted movie screenings help individuals learn more about autism, it is also working to break down barriers. 

After another recent screening, Taylor noted, “I had two friends tell me this film changed them. In the past, they shied away from interacting with individuals with differences – not knowing what to say or do. Today, not only do they feel comfortable enough to say ‘hello,’ but they are looking forward to conversations with people in this special community. I am so happy we’ve been able to bring this film to so many people in the New York region!”  

About Ron Suskind

Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer-winning journalist, bestselling author and the founder of Sidekicks. Ron’s bestseller, Life, Animated, chronicles his family’s journey raising and connecting to their autistic son. Click here to learn more. 

About Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health is one of the largest and most advanced behavioral healthcare organizations in the country. We serve as a national nonprofit partner for individuals, families, schools and communities, serving many of the most vulnerable members of our society in areas of autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, specialty mental health, and child welfare. Click here to learn more.

 

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