I thought that the coolest part of Roger William’s talk last week was when he was discussing his latest project Life, Animated, about the story of Owen Suskind, the young man with autism who found comfort and expression in Disney films. I could probably go on about how awesome his story is, and how cool the amount of access that Roger and Owen got into the Disney Animation archives is, but what I thought was really interesting was that, towards the end of this discussion, Roger mentioned how the film was actually based on a book written by Owen’s father, Ron Suskind.
I started researching the book after the discussion (I’m considering buying it actually, because the reviews are pretty positive and the story that Roger told us seemed awesome), and found that a whole website was created around it, and that many of the posts tell not only Owen’s story, but the stories of numerous other children with autism who found comfort in Disney. It made me realize how Owen’s story is a continually growing process, and how it has continued past the events of Suskind’s book, and will continue past the events filmed by Roger Williams. When I found that the documentary was using the same title as the book, I was afraid that Roger was going for an adaptation of sorts (which raises the question of whether or not documentaries can be adapted from source materials faithfully, the way that some films can be adapted from fiction novels), but I realized that instead of being an adaptation, it is more like a continuation of the book. It deals with the same character, and similar themes, but it shows a new side to Owen, an older side, and serves as an update and hopefully an expansion of what the book provides. It’s not a sequel, but rather a Part II to a story that I think is far from over.
The link to the website is posted below and I definitely think that it is worth checking out.