Archived | Autism Society and Ed Asner Honor Ben Affleck & Pixar Filmmakers at 1st Annual Autfest Film Festival | Circa April 24, 2017 #AutisticHistory #NotAnAutisticAlly

Ed Asner and AutFest honoree Ben Affleck (PRNewsfoto/The Autism Society)

Autism Society and Ed Asner Honor Ben Affleck & Pixar Filmmakers at 1st Annual Autfest Film Festival

“The Accountant,” “Po” and “Swim Team” Among Films Awarded for Celebrating Autism Awareness “From Spectrum to Screen

Apr 24, 2017, 14:42 ET

LOS ANGELES, April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Oscar®-winning actor Ben Affleck, Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, AutFest founder Matt Asner and several filmmakers were honored yesterday for their filmmaking contributions to autism awareness “from spectrum to screen” at the 1st Annual AutFest International Film Festival (April 22-23) in Orange, California. 

Seven-time Emmy® winner and autism advocate Ed Asner presented Affleck with the AutFest Awareness Award at the festival’s closing reception at Café Tu Tu Tango. Prior to the reception, Affleck participated in a Q&A moderated by ABC7 reporter George Pennacchio after a screening of his 2016 film The Accountant, in which he portrayed a forensic accountant on the autism spectrum. 

Earlier in the day, Oscar-winning Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera were honored by Asner with the AutFest Vanguard Award after a screening of their film Inside Out at AMC Orange 30. The filmmakers discussed the autism community’s embracing of their film in a Q&A with moderator Terry Flores, senior editor at Variety. Celebrities such as singer/actress Becky G (Power Rangers), David Marciano (Homeland), Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson and The Voice season 11 contestant Tarra Layne were on hand to attend the festival’s closing festivities.  

AutFest is proud to honor outstanding filmmakers Ben Affleck, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera for their cinematic contributions reflecting the autism community,” said Matt Asner, AutFest founder and Autism Society’s VP of Development. “Presented by The Autism Society, AutFest’s mission is to celebrate films that promote autism awareness ‘from spectrum to screen’ and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. We were touched by the overwhelming support of the filmmaking and autism communities and look forward to making this an annual event.” Asner was the recipient of a Golden Goody Award presented by Autism Guardian Angels founder David Luber. 

Over nine feature films and six short films were presented during the two-day festival that included this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated and international films from China (Destiny) and Malaysia (Redha). Two of the shorts, Even in Death and The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born, were written and directed by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. Panelists included Po‘s director John Asher and actor Julian Feder, as well as an autism sibling panel following the Life, Animated screening.

The 1st Annual AutFest International Film Festival winners include:

Best Film

  • Podirected by John Asher (U.S.A.)

Best Documentary

  • Swim Teamdirected by Lara Stolman (U.S.A.)

Best Short

  • The Buddy Systemdirected by William Harris and Megan Smith-Harris (U.S.A.)

Best Performance

  • Julian Feder, Po (U.S.A.)

Audience Award

  • The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor (U.S.A.)

Best Autistic Filmmaker

  • Zac DavisEven in Death (U.S.A.)

AutFest took place at the AMC Orange 30, as part of Autism Society’s eight-year partnership with AMC Theatres for AMC Sensory Friendly Films, a screening program that allows families with special needs to see films in a welcoming environment. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, AMC Theatres agreed to show Autism Society’s recently released PSA, created by autistic animation artist Dani Bowman, in theaters nationwide. 

AutFest Honorary Committee Members included Ed Asner, actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies), actor Dax Shepard(CHIPS), actress comedian Sarah Silverman, actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), actor Gary Cole (Veep), Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright, The Suzanne Wright Foundation president Liz Feld, Warner Bros. president and CCO Peter Roth and Autism Society’s VP of Development Matt Asner. 

AutFest is proudly sponsored by Hyundai, Warner Bros. Television, Therasurf, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Autism Guardian Angels, AMC Theatres, Bob Wright, Fullerton Cares, Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Premier Healthcare Services, Autism Works Now, Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance Companies, Heritage Pointe “Senior Living in the Jewish Tradition,” Neil Haley and Technicolor. Media sponsors include ABC 7 Eyewitness News and Variety. 

Photos available at: (Credit: Greg Doherty)
Download interviews and video footage: 
Inside Out, Po and Life, Animated panels available on Facebook: 
Festival poster, trailer and press kit:

Founded in 1965, the Autism Society is the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, and exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism.  We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the autism spectrum, advocation for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education and research.  The Society maintains a strong nationwide network of affiliates to provide support and grassroots advocacy at local, state and federal levels.

Matt Asner – Autism Society –
Kayleigh Millet – Autism Society –

Media Contact: 
Cheri Warner 

SOURCE The Autism Society

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Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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