New Autism Film Directed And Performed By Women With Disease Hopes To Raise Public Awareness

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A new autism film aims to create additional awareness of the disease through the real-life experiences of people with autism themselves.

he new drama Mildly Different tells the story of a young woman with the autism spectrum from childhood to adulthood as she struggles to feel accepted.

But what’s unique about the movie is that it’s written / directed by and stars people with autism themselves. And it goes to the heart to feel different without understanding why.

Writer / director Anna Czarska and lead actress Jordanne Jones both have autism.

They wanted to give the public a taste of what autism looks and feels like – especially for women, for whom the condition is often different from that of men.

Anna was also prompted by her own experiences to make the film for Sticky Tape Productions in the hopes of helping others – as she went undiagnosed for many years.

“Because I was only diagnosed in my thirties, I spent most of my life not understanding what was going on, thinking that I was broken, thinking that there was just something was wrong with me, ”she said.

“When I found out that I was actually just autistic, everything that I had been through in my life kicked in. I was like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense. “

Anna experienced many emotions after the diagnosis, including a feeling of relief and anger that she had to wait so long for an assessment.

“I had been through a bit of an emotional whirlwind, because I was angry that it had taken so long for someone to assess me.

“I was so relieved. And so happy to know what really happened, why I am so different.”

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Jordanne with director Anna

Jordanne with director Anna

Even after her diagnosis, people told her she didn’t look autistic, and she realized that people had misconceptions about the traits present in women.

Anna remembers reading an article by the great autistic writer and psychotherapist Tania Marshall, who cited a personal checklist.

This included difficulty communicating his thoughts and feelings, in words, to others, especially if he was anxious, stressed or upset, and offending others by saying what she was thinking, even if she did not want to. not.

It reflected what she had suspected.

“I started reading the new research on autism in women and the atypical presentation.

“And it was like a checklist, like you see in the movie, with that dot, and that dot, and this and that. I was like, ‘It’s me, it’s all me.’

“I was already in the movie business. I just remember thinking to myself, what am I going to do with all of this?

“What am I going to do with this trip and all this information knowing that there are people like me?

“Especially women, because they are overwhelmingly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed, and because we present differently from the traditional male-based research that everyone is used to.”

The result is Mildly Different, which is supported by the Arts Council and Arts Disability Connect program, managed by Arts and Disability Ireland.

Young Irish actress Ruby Connolly stars as young Christina, who struggles to feel accepted, while Irish best actress Jordanne Jones plays her as an adult, as another person’s kindness gives her confidence back. . For Jordanne, who stars in Irish drama Metal Heart and Netflix, The Alienist, being diagnosed with autism at age 16 made the project all the more personal.

While undergoing therapy for other mental health issues, she always felt there was another element, she recalls.

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Jordanne Jones gets ready for a scene with hairdresser Aisling Quinn


Jordanne Jones gets ready for a scene with hairdresser Aisling Quinn

Jordanne Jones gets ready for a scene with hairdresser Aisling Quinn

“Throughout therapy, through all the discussion, I kept sitting down with my mom (Independent Senator Lynn Ruane) and saying, ‘Okay, but there is something else. It was just something that I knew to be different, that I did. I don’t have the words to communicate, I’m still struggling.

“It’s probably also part of my autism, I think in a very visual way. I just knew there was something about the way I saw and felt life.

“I like emotional roles, something that allows me to connect with myself and think within myself, to explore who I am.

“I have the diagnosis of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). I just thought this was a good opportunity for me to reflect on my own autism diagnosis and also want to represent something important, that educates them. people.

“It’s something I’m trying to learn too.

“People can often think that because I have the diagnosis that I need to know a lot about autism or where I am on the spectrum, what autism is to me. ‘learn gradually and constantly.

“I really found myself in Christina, because I think Christina is someone who would probably get remarks like, ‘She’s weird and weird and weird, but you’d never think she’s autistic, though.’ And I felt it resonated with me. “

Jordanne jumped at the chance to focus on this story, like Anna, in the hopes of helping others.

“I believe this is a great way and a great platform to speak for yourself and then try to speak for others and represent something big and send a message.

“This is always where the importance of taking action and what I wanted to do lies.”

The 28-minute film will premiere at Stella Rathmines in Dublin on November 17 (tickets on Eventbrite) and then screen at film festivals and, Anna hopes, through educational programs.

“I really wanted to give the public as well as other people with autism a glimpse into the experience of a person with autism and see what it looks like firsthand.”

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