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The Reason I Jump

Opens on January 8
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Director: Jerry Rothwell Run Time: 82 min. Rating: NR

Starring: David Mitchell, Jim Fujiwara, Jordan O'Donegan

Presented in the Virtual Screening Room in partnership with Kino Marquee.

“Exquisite… A masterclass in communication for anyone ready to listen.”

– Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

About the film:

Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival 2020.
Winner of the International Documentary Audience Award at Vancouver Int. Film Festival 2020.
Official Selection of AFI Docs 2020, BFI London Film Festival 2020, and DocNYC Winner’s Circle 2020.

At the age of 13, Naoki Higashida wrote The Reason I Jump about his experience as a nonspeaking autistic child. This new immersive documentary from Jerry Rothwell blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people from around the world.

The film opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe where not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.

About the filmmakers:

Director Jerry Rothwell has helmed insightful, award-winning feature documentaries. Donor Unknown won Best Feature Film at the 2011 Tribeca (Online) Film Festival. In 2015, his film about the founders of Greenpeace, How to Change the World, won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival. He was awarded the first-ever Sundance Institute | TED Prize Filmmaker Award, which included a grant to make The School in the Cloud, a documentary film about radical educationalist and TED Prize-winner Sugata Mitra. 

Rothwell has long been an advocate for change. In the 90’s, he was a pioneer in setting up participatory media projects focused on disability rights and self-advocacy by people with learning disabilities, and his film Heavy Load introduced audiences to a British punk band with autistic members.

Higashida’s book was co-translated by KA Yoshida and her husband, Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell, who felt for the first time as if their own son was talking about what was happening inside his head. For producers Stevie Lee and Jeremy Dear, Naoki Higashida’s book transformed their understanding of their autistic teenager, Joss. They knew they had to share Higashida’s insights with the world.

Learn more from the filmmakers in a conversation with the International Documentary Association. Closed-captioned and ASL interpreted.


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