Life, Animated

Closing Night:

Life, Animated

“A conversation with” Director Roger Ross Williams VIA SKYPE, and audience Q&A hosted by film critic at large, Lisa Kennedy.

Director: Roger Ross Williams
Country: USA
Run Time: 90 mins
When: Sunday May 15 at 7:15pm
Where: Sie FilmCenter


Sundance 2016: Winner U.S. Documentary Award for Best Director
Full Frame 2016: Audience Choice Award

Clip from the film:


From the film’s official site:

Imagine being trapped inside a Disney movie and having to learn about life mostly from animated characters dancing across a screen of color. A fantasy? A nightmare?

LIFE, ANIMATED is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn’t speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood. The family was forced to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue and song.

Until they all emerge, together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.

About the Director:

The first film that Roger Ross Williams directed and produced was Music by Prudence, which won the 2010 Academy Award® for documentary short subject – and which screened that year, at DocuWest; he is the first African American director to win an Academy Award. Williams next directed the feature documentary God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to enormous critical acclaim and went on to screen at over 60 film festivals worldwide – including DocuWest, winning more than a dozen awards before being shortlisted for a 2014 Academy Award®.

Prior to moving into independent filmmaking, Williams was an acclaimed television journalist and producer for over 15 years for outlets including: TV Nation, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, PBS, Comedy Central and Sundance Channel.

Life, Animated is his second feature documentary, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Blackface, his short film on the tradition of Black Pete in the Netherlands for CNN Films, premiered in November 2015 to enormous controversy and sparked a national debate on racism and the legacy of slavery. Williams presently has several projects in development including Traveling While Black, an interactive project that will feature a Virtual Reality component designed by renowned VR artist Oscar Raby; and a feature documentary about the prison industrial complex for The Why? Foundation, which will be broadcast in over 50 countries, reaching an audience of over 500 million around the world.

Williams serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the Sundance Institute. He frequently mentors filmmakers from the developing world and under-represented communities on how to channel personal adversity into their art. Williams splits his time between upstate New York and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.