Filmmaker Kimberly Townes creates narratives from a unique point-of-view. Her new short film is about an Autistic African-American man (Eugene Abernathy played by Theo Perkins). Eugene and his younger brother have recently lost their mother and are confronted with changing their living situation. His younger brother has been handed over to a neighborhood pastor & wife for custody. While struggling through unfortunate circumstances, Eugene finds solace and comfort with the small things in life. Because of his positive attitude and garnered support; he is able to find opportunity by sharing his craft.
This short film is based on a story of a relative of actor and producer, Theo Perkins, Kim's UCLA classmate. He wanted to share the story with Kim. Once the idea was brought to Ms. Townes, she was convinced that this story should be told. Together they developed a short narrative, which became "Hands to the Sky". This film illustrates beautifully thoughts and feelings…through the eyes of a person with Autism with family and friends trying to understand and support them. Kim Townes interacted with family members and friends of the person of interest. She developed a special sensitivity and understanding through her research by spending time and having heart-felt conversations about why this story must be told.
Although, I have a family member that has Autism, I found this story both refreshing, informative, and yet disturbing at the same time. Refreshing because the character had support, disturbing because the person that had Autism was at risk for being taken advantage of and needed a watchful eye at times. Overall, life is full of twists and turns, and is often not fair. The human spirit is resilient though in many ways and this story proves it to be so.
A few FAQs about Autism:
Everyone knows someone with Autism. There are many different symptoms and diagnosis across the Spectrum.
- According to CDC.gov, the statistics are now 1 in 68 people have autism. Boys are 5 times as likely to have Autism Spectrum Disorder than girls.
- Autism Speaks states, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”
“Hands to the Sky” has been making head waves all across the country, from the Coasts- Los Angeles, to New York, down south in Atlanta and Oklahoma, to the Midwest, Chicago, and beyond. Internationally, this short has been nominated by the African press for the African Academy Awards; shown in Portugal, and a few other countries, too..... and this is just the beginning.
"Hands to the Sky, Catch Them They’re Yours" will be screening at the Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center (Part of the Shorts Program: Color Me Creatives) on August 19, 2015.
Trailer For Hands to the Sky….
For more info on Hands to the Sky Movie
Director Kimberly Townes
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