effects of the drugs

The United States of Autism: Filming

Final Day of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Today was the final day of shooting for the United States of Autism movie. We finished exactly where we started at a lonely Amtrak station in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After a few dawn shots, we were done and called it quits for these 40 days. All the rented equipment was packed and sent back, cars returned, and paperwork filed.

People often wonder what it’s like after finishing something this challenging and rewarding. For one, we can say that there is a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that we know we’ve done the best we could, on the budget we had, with the best people possible. Sad because our team, who has traveled over 10,967 miles at final count, would say their final goodbyes.

To our crew, Rene, Cassandra and Rosleny, they’ve taken part in something special for families that they barely know. We know that they’ve touched all the lives of the families we met along the way, and have a special place in their hearts. For Rich and Sugey, they know that the next 9 – 12 months of post production will tell how well the art of the story is told.

We will be back to the Brewsters to film them later this month, and perhaps another guest star along the way, but for now, this our final moments of filming. For all of you who have followed us along the way, we are eternally grateful for your love and support, and at times for feeding a ravenous crew.

From here, we go into post-production of the editing room and sound booths for 9-12 months before a Spring/Summer 2011 release. Be sure to come back and check on our progress as we keep you updated every step of the way.

For one last time, from us to you, we love you all, and can’t wait to hear from you soon. God bless, and we’ll see you at the finish line.


<< Day 39

Day 39 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Today we shot the ending of the movie, as well as interestingly enough some of the first scenes in the movie. It’s amazing how things come together in order to make a full length film. We took some footage of Rich arriving today, as well as Rich, Sugey and Tommy at parks, walking, and a host of other things to finish the threads running throughout the story. It was exciting as it was the first time Tommy had used an iPad, so the day went really well.

During the evening, the crew got together for a dinner to receive some gifts from Rich and Sugey, mostly souvenirs from places they didn’t have time to stop for on their 18 and 20 hour days.

Tomorrow is the last day of the shoot, starting at 5 am at the local Amtrak station. Until then, we love you all and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

<< Day 38 | Day 40 >>

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Day 38 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Today, we left for our final destination in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after our journey across the country, making two quick stops on the way back. First, we stopped by Rich’s grandmother’s house to shoot some quick b-roll of Rich’s early life and where he got started. His grandmother Helen, a spry old lady at nearly 80, was more than happy to help the crew around the house and shoot some footage. It was a relaxing time for everyone, and of course, we were sent off with some nice tea.

Next, the crew went to see Rich’s father, who he’s only seen a handful of times his entire life. It was a pretty emotional time, but his father was more than willing to be on camera and the story will benefit greatly from the footage and the time spent there.

Finally, the crew made it’s way back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We had our last dinner together as a crew only event at a local Japanese steakhouse, one of our favorite spots along the entire journey. Once the crew arrived at Rich’s house, we quickly said hello, unpacked the car, had our sparkler party, and got everyone to where the needed to go at the end of the day. Rosleny was off to her boyfriend’s house until the shoot tomorrow. Cassie went to her hotel. Rene got his stuff together at Rich’s place, and Rich got all of his things back into the house.

It was a truly reflective moment unpacking the vehicle, and the crew was both relieved and sad to see the time come to an end. Kind of like Frodo and the Fellowship, though you are tired and ready for rest after a long battle with a slew of challenges, at some point the journey must come to an end and you are sad to see your team move it’s own ways. For us, though we have two days left of shooting, it’s the last time we will all be traveling all together in our little minivan roaming like gypsies to our next destination. Soon, there will be time to recount what we’ve done. For now, we’re focused on tomorrow’s shoot.

Be sure to check out our visit to Albany yesterday on YNN news. Until then, we love you all, and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

<< Day 37 | Day 39 >>

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Day 37 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

Today was the lat big day of shooting for our families across the nation, and we ended in a great place in Albany, NY with the Washburn family. Starting bright and early at 8:30 am, we made our way to Camp Colonie, a camp sponsored by Easter Seals for children of special needs. Headed by Chuck and Mitch, and attended by both CJ and Buddy Washburn, the camp was an amazing example of what can be done when committed individuals dedicate themselves to having a good time with kids and special needs. There were a ton of smiles, and Chuck and Mitch should be commended for their awesome work!

Afterwards, we went to interview the Washburn family of Gary and Trish. What a story there is! It was exciting to hear about Trish’s work on the political level in NY, especially since she’s just an average mom who kind of got drafted for the job. The interview itself had a lot of tears and heart-felt emotion, and was a wonderful example of what has to be overcome for families to move forward in their lives.

We then went on to interview State Senator Roy McDonald, who has 2 grandchildren on the spectrum and is head of the Autism Caucus for New York. He loves having individuals like Trish advocating for families and looks forward to the autism movement gaining speed in the years ahead.

At the end of the day, we ended up at Buddy and CJ’s hippotherapy space called Everybody Counts in East Berne, NY. We got some great footage of the kids working with the horses, and had a wonderful time to boot.

We were sorry to have to say goodbye to the family, as we had a wonderful time. We look forward to coming back when the film is done to the Albany area for sure!

Alas, our time on the road in America has finally begun it’s journey home. The next 3 days of shooting are in Pennsylvania to finish up the story. Be sure to check out the final stages of filming the next few days. We love you all, and can’t wait to hear from you!

<< Day 36 | Day 38 >>

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Day 36 of 40 Day United States of Autism Movie Shoot

We had two interviews today which weren’t families directly, but they certainly impact families around the country. The first stop was with Dr. Kenneth Bock from the Rhinebeck Health Center, author of Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders, who is considered by many to be one of the best DAN doctors in the United States currently and an expert on environmental toxicity. His thoughts on what’s happening with the environment, how to treat individuls on the spectrum, and his ideas for what will soon replace DAN as the top structure for biomedical and integrative treatments was thorough and enlightening to the crew and we’re sure soon to the rest of the autism community interested in the topic. It was also interesting to note that the little town of Rhinebeck was quite a zoo with Chelsea Clinton’s marriage less than two days away. We’ve never seen so many people in Rhinebeck!

We then made our way out to Sheffield, Massachusetts to meet with Raun K. Kaufman, the former CEO of the Autism Treatment Center of America as well as the subject for the NBC TV Movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. Once diagnosed with an IQ of under 30, his parents developed a unique therapy called the Son-Rise Program which allowed Raun to recover fully from his condition, graduate from Brown University with a degree in biomedical ethics, and live a unique and full life. We had the opportunity to sit in on a class that he taught to people attending from around the world, as well as an impressive interview later on. What is most unique about Raun’s story is that though he was once on the spectrum, he no longer thinks of ASD as part of his core identity which separates him from the other self advocates in the film. We talked about his future plans outside of autism, as well as the work he’s done with thousands of families at the Center. He was most engaging, and we are excited to have his unique perspective in the film as well.

We left for Albany where we’re preparing for our last family tomorrow. Also, NBC 10 from Philadelphia posted their story from this past weekend. Check out the video here. We love you all, and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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