"For me, it was a coming of age story. And the stakes were higher because Owen lives with Autism."
When he was three, Owen suddenly went silent. He was diagnosed with Autism and began speaking what his parents thought was gibberish—until his parents realized he was actually repeating movie dialogue from classic Disney movies like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.
Life, Animated, is a documentary about Owen's life, made by Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Ron Suskind—who also happens to be Owen's father. It's based on Ron Suskind's 2014 book by the same name.
Suskind and Williams spoke to Columbia Journalism School Professor Betsy West about making bringing Owen's life to screen through intimate interviews and animated sequences, as well as what it means to make a film about autism and neurally diverse people.