Clay Aiken – Autism Film From Iceland

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet will provide the English narration on “The Sunshine Boy,” a documentary exploring autism by Icelandic director Fridrik Thor Fridriksson.  The film is a first-person account by Frontier Filmworks producer Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir of her quest to understand her severely autistic, 11-year-old son Keli.

Fridriksson’s film explores the entire spectrum of autism, focusing on Ericsdottir’s mission as she meets with the world’s leading experts on the disease. The quest takes her to Austin, Texas, where she and her husband are astounded to see Keli’s mind unlocked by therapist Soma Mukhophadhyay.

Ericsdottir said about Winslet’s participation:

“I am delighted and honored that Kate agreed to do the narration. Her contribution plays an instrumental role in increasing awareness for autism, which many claim is the world’s fastest-growing epidemic.”

The Sunshine Boy will receive its world premiere in the Real To Reel section of the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2009.  Featured musical performers will be Icelandic stars Bjork and Sigur Ros.

Seven years ago, I knew a bit about Autism, but because of Clay Aiken, I have been reading more about this puzzling condition.  I would imagine that Clay will see this movie and I hope he lets us know how he feels about it.  It sounds like a very touching movie.

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Comments

  1. This sounds like an interesting film. Having Kate Winslet’s name attached to it is a great thing, because more people will see it and, hopefully, come to understand autism a bit better.

  2. This sounds like a great film… It’s interesting that it will make its premier in Toronto. Heck, I live 1 hour north of Toronto.

    I would definately agree that Clay will see this. He always like to stay in touch with causes that are close to his heart.

    Hugs,
    Judy

  3. Sounds like an amazing film! I hope to hear more about this documentary and I hope that it can help in the struggle to get funding for research into autism. The last time I looked, it was severely underfunded when looking at the amount of children affected vs. the funds that were provided.

    Thanks musicfan!

  4. The Sunshine Boy, hopefully, will go the route of most indie films and be shown in several cities across Canada and the US. I hope so, I’d love to further my education regarding Autism [a sad and often cruel disease].
    Thank you for the information.

  5. I would love to see this film. Clay Aiken has opened my eyes in so many ways (I did not know much about Autism till he came along).

  6. Thank you for such an interesting look into the film The Sunshine Boy. Through Clay Aiken, I too have learned so much about this tragic disease – it may be frustrating, but I know my friend (who has a son with “mild” autism),
    she loves her son incredibly. I don’t know if there is actual “love” on his part, I do know he seems to enjoy himself and his surroundings (he loves to go to the Arboretum in Arcadia, CA and feed the ducks and PEACOCKS,
    he loves those peacocks lol).

    Your insightful blog has begun my quest to learn more; I’ve been a friend, but need to be a better one to learn what is truly going on in my friend and her son’s lives.
    Thank you.

  7. Anytime more information is available about autism is a positive step to understanding. Clay Aiken did open my eyes to autism in our society, too.

  8. The “Sunshine Boys” looks very interesting.

    Before Clay Aiken came into my life, I knew nothing about Autism other than the word and a vague meaning of it. Clay has enlightened me on that subject and many others.

  9. He’s opened my eyes to inclusion. This summer, was pleasantly surprise to find out from my daughter that her day care camp had a girl with autism. I don’t know if my old self would have react so favourably. Also, I’d like to think it rubbed off on her, she never hesitated to help her friend. IMO kids naturally do not judge their peers, they learn it from adults.

  10. I had little or no information about Austic inflicted children/adults when I “found” Clay Aiken. Oh sure, I know what it meant, and what the person and their family was going through — for some odd reason I just never took the time to “read deeply” what Austic children/adults truly suffered with their families (very gracious and repected families). I love the puzzle ribbon, I would love it if Clay Aiken used his song “Every one of use” as the theme to his charity (NIP).

    Thanks for such an insightful blog.

  11. So glad to hear about this film “The Sunshine Boy.” Anything that helps with the children with autism is a good thing. I’m sure that Clay will go to see this movie. He is always interested to hear what is going on with Autism or any disabilities of children.

  12. My girl used to have an autistic classmate.He is a very nice and well mannered boy.He can relate to his classmates and some of the other parents in school as we are regular faces to him and we always try to talk and reach out to him.I know the parents well and I can feel their despair and desperation as their boy slips down to a slower class due to his slower absorbtion rate.I can also see their efforts to help him cope with growing up and most all, the depth of their love.
    I hope ‘The Sunshine Boy’ is shown in Malaysia.I am sure a lot of us parents here will love to see it to enlighten us more on autism.

  13. Autism is a subject near & dear to my heart since my 6-1/2 yo grandson’s diagnosis in 2006. At that time, he had no speech, wasn’t potty trained, wouldn’t make eye contact, & lined toys up in a perfect row, among other symptoms of autism. We were very lucky to be able to put him in a preschool program through our local public school, with a teacher who specialized in working with children with autism. By the time the school year was over, my grandson was talking, beginning to get the idea behind potty training, & being around other children in his age bracket. My daughter, granddaughter & grandson moved across the country during the summer of 2007 & again, were lucky to be in a school district which had an excellent preschool program. When my daughter was married a year ago, that meant another move. However, she was again fortunate to find a school program for my grandson. He can now read and do math, & is in the process of being mainstreamed (here’s the “inclusion” part) into a 1st grade class for at least part of the school day. We don’t know what kind of progress he’ll make, but we do know he’s very intelligent & we have to stay 10 steps ahead of him.

    This is a condition which I’m persuaded has been around for a very long time, but was until relatively recently diagnosed as “social immaturity.” I have a brother who received such a diagnosis over 50 years ago & am convinced that autism is a genetic disorder. In my brother’s case, I am persuaded that if he was to be diagnosed today, he would probably be diagnosed with Asperger’s, which is a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has an IQ in the genius range, yet he’s obsessive about sports & political statistics, will not make eye contact when people talk to him, & he has some social immaturity.

    It’s wonderful that Clay Aiken & Diane Bubel have started first the Bubel/Aiken Foundation (now known as the National Inclusion Project) to get kids who have special needs included in the activities of their peers who don’t. Had it not been for Clay’s performances on American Idol, we would not know about inclusion. It’s a testament to Clay’s talent & integrity that the folks in Raleigh donated to the YMCA & the Autism Society because of his appearances on AI, & I look forward to being able to meet him in the very near future, either at a concert or at a NIP Gala.

  14. As the publicist of The Sunshine Boy, I’d like to thank musicfan123 for posting the news about our documentary and help spread autism awareness. Thanks for all the warm and encouraging comments. There seems to be a huge need for information about autism out there and opportunities to share experiences. Hopefully the film will find distribution after its world premiere in Toronto, so people will be able to see it all over the world. Thanks for your support!

    • I have no idea whether autism should be classified as a disease or not, but I have read that there is some debate as to whether it should be identified as such. The logic appears to be that being called a disease would skew research and treatments differently than if it is called a syndrome. I also think that some of the debate stems from the basic definitions of "disease", "illness" and "syndrome". Also some call it a disease because of the theories behind the cause of autism. Therefore, even though you personally may not feel autism is a disease, I don't think one can categorically demand that everyone else refrain from identifying it as such simply because one has that particular opinion about it.

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