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Mr Savant - Autism awareness short film
By Oliver Jenks
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NZ$10,400 minimum target
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Mr Savant Autism Awareness Short Film
Project 2018-11-18 15:56:17 +1300
What is 'Mr Savant'?
This project is the brainchild of an entrepreneurial filmmaker duo who are passionate about making creative and engaging short films focusing on societal issues. We recently conceptualised, directed and produced the ‘How to bus’ video for Metro, the primary public transport company in the Canterbury region, which can be watched here How to bus. The video went viral, attracting nearly 200,000 views on Facebook. We have now fully conceptualised our next project, which aims to tackle the attitudes that some people have towards those on the autistic spectrum.
(Screenshot from Ricky Townsend's upcoming earthquake short film project)
What is the film plot?
The film treatment is as follows A group of patients sit around in a bland medical waiting room. There is a mother occupied with a gossip magazine and her tween aged son, George, is playing with a Rubik’s cube and coughing away. An old man is trying to solve a crossword puzzle on the back of a newspaper. A young woman sits in meditation. All four sit around a coffee table covered with magazines and puzzles. A young man, Mr. Savant, in a tidy shirt and jeans enters the waiting room and reports to the receptionist. The receptionist gestures Mr. Savant to take a seat and he tentatively does so. He sits awkwardly at a seat on the opposite side of the room to the other four patients. He starts sketching in a notebook and starts clicking his fingers as an anxious tick. Irritated by Mr. Savant’s clicking, the other four patients whisper among each other over why he’s acting so immaturely. The son George asks whether “he’s retarded” which the Mother immediately scolds him for suggesting; before going back to her magazine. The young woman recalls vaguely knowing Mr. Savant from primary school and remembers him having some sort of “mental problem”. He would have temper tantrums when people touched his stationary. The old man dismisses this behaviour as being the symptoms of “entitled modern children” whose parents “don’t have the balls” to teach them manners.
Hearing the whispering from across the room, Mr. Savant glances in the direction of the other four patients. As the four patients whisper away the Mother suggests that Mr. Savant may be able to hear them talking behind his back. The four patients look Mr. Savant’s direction to see him looking back at them. They start reacting to their sense of guilt resulting from talking behind some ones back. The Young Woman tries to calm the others down by suggesting that he may not be able to understand them very well, recalling that Mr. Savant never spoke at all during primary school and would ignore anyone who would talk to him. “So he is retarded” George claims. The Mother again scolds George without saying why she is scolding him. The Mother goes on to inform the others that she’d hate to “have her own child be Autistic” and that’s why she refused to vaccinate George. The old man asks why she’s waiting in a medical clinic if she doesn’t trust medical research. The Mother states that George has been getting sick on a regular basis, puking all the time and having a high fever.
The four patients look up to see Mr. Savant now standing in front of them all. Mr. Savant slams his note book onto the coffee table. On the note book is a clearly Picasso influenced sketch. The Young Woman sarcastically comments on the sketch “wow, it almost looks like a face”. Mr. Savant leans down, rips the page out to reveal a naturalistic sketch of human face. Witnessing the sketch, the four patients go silent. Mr. Savant grabs the newspaper from the coffee table before the old man and solves the crossword puzzle with only a few strokes from his sketch pencil. Mr. Savant gestures for the Rubik’s cube from George. George grudgingly complies. Mr. Savant solves the Rubik’s Cube in a few seconds. Mr. Savant deliberately the places the solved cube on the table; he gives the four patients a determined look. A nurse enters the room and informs Mr. Savant that the doctor can now see him. Mr. Savant follows the nurse out of the waiting room. Left in silence, the four patients look among each other not knowing how to respond.
Who are we?
This filmmaker Duo consists of Ricky (Richard) Townsend, an upcoming Filmmaker who's films have won awards such as the Runner-up award of the secondary category of the FocusOnAbility short film festival 2016, the overall secondary award and acting award for the New Zealand young film makers competition 2016. As our Director, Richards unique creativity gives our films Authenticity and ensures they are highly engaging to our Audience.We intend for this short film to be shown at film festivals, ensuring the film reaches those outside the Autism community and touches society as a whole.
Oliver Jenks represents the Commercial side of this Duo. Oliver is the founder and Managing Director of his own successful ecommerce-store www.speedcube.co.nz, as well has having significant experience managing film projects such as the 'How to bus' video linked above. As producer, Oliver ensures projects are completed on schedule, negotiates filming locations and the commercial distribution of our films.
(An excerpt of Ricky Townsend's photography work)
What will the money go towards?
- 70% of the funds will be used to pay ourselves, our actors and the crew living wage, as we belive it is important to strongly support the emerging artistic community in Canterbury.
- 24% is allocated for Filming location/venue hire, costuming/prop fees, additional sound gear as required.
- 6% represents the Pledgeme-fees to cover this campaign.
Why is this film relevant?
This particular short film has an intense personal connection with Richard, who is himself on the Autism spectrum. As a result he is acutely aware of attitudes surrounding ASD and the perceptions some have towards individuals on the spectrum. We firmly believe this film will help to challenge these attitudes by challenging those in society with misinformed understanding towards those on the Autism spectrum.
What will happen if we reach our funding goal?
We intend on submitting this short film into the Show Me Shorts film festival and the New Zealand International Film Festival next year. Previous short films by Richard have been awarded second place at the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival in Sydney, Australia. We intend for this short film to be shown at film festivals, ensuring the film reaches those outside the Autism community and touches society as a whole.
Disclaimer: All names submitted to be a sponsor as part of your pledge must be sensible and PG-rated. We would prefer if you submitted your legal name as opposed to any nicknames and we reserve the right to exlcude names we believe are deliberately innapropriate.