The Movie That Must Be Made
LuxetVeritas(Light and Truth)“
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light...”
Many of our lives are touched by autism. It is no longer a mysterious disability about which most of us know nothing. There is an increase in books, magazines, television shows and movies which educate us on this subject.
The mission of this creative collaboration is to produce a film that will heighten awareness of the challenges facing people with disabilities. These individuals are often kept on the periphery of our communities; their talents and prospective contributions largely ignored. Therefore, whenever possible, this film project will incorporate the technical, creative and theatrical contributions of people with special needs. A percentage of the proceeds from this movie will be directed to organizations that improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Aaron’s Light is a fictional story which encompasses the significant everyday struggles of a man diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Jarrod Law, who is an artist, and autistic non-verbal man, as well as many of his friends, have spent much of their lives living “in the shadows.” They ultimately have been able to create meaningful, joyful lives for themselves through involvement with community. Our main character, Aaron, who has OCD, high anxiety, and significant stuttering (such that he uses a computer to communicate), is, at the outset of this movie, on the periphery of life. He is someone we come to care deeply about. He embodies – albeit to a greater degree – the vulnerabilities we all share. He inspires us by not allowing fear to prevent him from pursuing his dreams.
This unique and moving film has its genesis in Yale’s Hidden Treasures, Mystery of the Gothic Stone Carvings, a book containing photographs and little known information about these carvings. This movie, along with its extraordinary back story, reinforces a powerful message to Yale students, among others, that there is much to be gained by embracing diversity and adopting the values that create a rich and purposeful life.
Many successful movies have been made about people with disabilities such as Rain Man, Forrest Gump, A Beautiful Mind, and more recently, Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close. The characters, though they had varying challenges and different messages to convey, brought awareness to the public that our lives are enriched by diversity. The talents and unique perspectives of people with disabilities remind us that a community is strengthened by the contributions of all.
We believe that this movie, set on the picturesque and awe-inspiring Yale University campus, can make a great impact internationally. Yale’s affiliation with this project would set an excellent example, offering the promise of real change in the lives of people with disabilities.
The producer of this feature film is Chris Lemmon and Gina Raymond of Stone Manor Productions.
(Storyline Video: http://youtu.be/7ca6RebBMxg)
In this provocative and heart-warming drama, we begin our journey with 23-year-old Aaron Livingston as he prepares to leave the security of his home with his mother in Dexter, Michigan to embark on a new life in New Haven, Connecticut.
Aaron is a handsome young man with a brilliant mind, photographic memory, childlike innocence and autism. Though talented and intelligent, his anxiety, obsessive compulsive behaviors, severe stuttering, and anti-social tendencies present challenges that keep him on the periphery of life.
It is Aaron’s lifelong dream to attend Yale University’s School of Architecture. Before he can do so, he must experience a non-academic year of independent living in New Haven. His mother insists that he needs this time to develop the skills that will be necessary to handle the rigors of graduate school.
Aaron arrives in New Haven both excited and terrified. He often feels fearful and alone. In search of a sense of comfort, he spends much of his time in his residence at the Hotel Duncan and exploring the Yale campus. He is passionate about the Yale architecture and in particular, the Gothic stone carvings on many of the Yale buildings. He finds great solace in knowing precisely where each stone carving is situated and often ponders their cryptic meanings. He sketches them, among them, James Gamble Rogers, the architect of this stone community that is comprised of peculiar and intriguing characters such as the tuxedoed donkey man and the court jester.
He feels oddly compelled to share his thoughts, dreams and fears with these stone residents. To his astonishment, he begins to hear responses and is unable to determine whether these voices are real or imagined. These bizarre visits – which offer the friendship he hungers for – are an extraordinary secret he can share with no one. Aaron’s growing attachment to this imaginary world conflict with his desire to create a place for himself in the real one. Two special women seek out his friendship: Olivia, a free- spirited artist, and Rafia, an introspective, Pakistani female violinist.
By the movie’s end, Aaron does not learn whether he has been accepted to Yale but he sees that he has choices for his future. All of the friendships he’s formed – whether stone or flesh and blood – enable him to see that in sharing his gifts he enriches the lives of others. He learns that he is not defined by his disability, and that he casts his own special and very bright light.
Ultimately, Aaron must face a liberating truth: he sees that the friends he came to love and depend on
in Yale’s stone community are all, in reality, parts of himself. These beautiful and sometimes strange relationships Aaron forms in New Haven serve as the foundation for a whole new life out of the shadows.
DISCLAIMER: This story is a work of fiction. It is not designed to inform the audience about life at Yale University or about Autism Spectrum Disorders and their many associated therapies, Rather it is meant to highlight some of the personal and social issues that can prevent meaningful community integration for people with disabilities, and to reinforce the value of community involvement and pursuit of one’s dreams. Our main character, Aaron, is loosely based on people we know with special needs. Mental/developmental disability presents itself in a wide variety of ways and our character endures a number of challenges.
A WRITTEN DISCLAIMER APPROVED BY YALE WILL BE INCLUDED IN THIS MOVIE.