Autistic child rides a horse in ‘Dear John’

Based on the novel by Nicolas Sparks, director Lasse Hallström’s romantic drama “Dear John” follows the relationship between Savannah Curtis Amanda Seyfried and soldier John Tyree Channing Tatum as they communicate through love letters during seven years of military deployments. For John’s scenes in the Middle East and Africa, livestock coordinator Dan Hydrick provided exotic background animals to give a sense of place.

But for Savannah’s scenes in the United States involving a young autistic character, Hydrick tackled an even more unusual challenge: teaching a young autistic actor, Braeden Reed, to ride a horse.

via Autistic boy saddles up ‘Dear John’ – latimes.com.

Boy’s films confront Down’s syndrome stigma in Serbia

ALEKSANDROVAC, Serbia — Like many boys his age, 14-year-old Aksentije wanted to become a secret agent, at least on the big screen like his idol Antonio Banderas.

Despite a gloomy prognosis at birth when doctors gave him only a year to live then growing up with Down’s syndrome in a country where such disabilities carry an unshakeable social stigma, Aksentije has achieved his dream.

For several years he and his cousin Aleksandra, a drama student, have been making short films including the touching and optimistic “The Story”, which won a special prize at a film festival in the northern city of Novi Sad.

via AFP: Boy’s films confront Down’s syndrome stigma in Serbia.

The Horse Boy Explores Whether Equine Companionship Can Help Treat Autism

Ask most parents how far they’d go for their child, and the usual answer is “to the ends of the earth.” It’s a turn of phrase that Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff took literally.

“The Horse Boy,” directed by Mr. Isaacson and Michel Orion Scott, and opening in New York on Sept. 30, is travelogue of sorts. In 2004, Mr. Isaacson and Ms. Neff’s 2½-year-old son Rowan was diagnosed with autism, a neurological disorder now diagnosed in one out of every 150 children according to the Centers for Disease Control. As Rowan grew, he got worse, as autistics generally do: In homemade footage, Rowan is shown becoming a volatile child whose only place of peace, his parents find, is on a horse.

Rowan Isaacson and his family traveled to Outer Mongolia in the hope that horseback riding would provide some help in dealing with his autism.

Escaping from his father one day, Rowan ran into a herd of horses. His father was petrified, but the herd’s lead horse pushed the other horses away, bent her head to Rowan and began to lick and chew with her lips, a sign of submission. And as the horse responded to Rowan, the boy responded to the horse.

via The Horse Boy Explores Whether Equine Companionship Can Help Treat Autism – WSJ.com.

‘Yo, también’, a film about Down’s, nominated for Golden Shell

Spanish actress Lola Dueñas (The Sea Inside, Volver) and the actor Pablo Pineda, were in San Sebastian on Wednesday to present the film Yo, también (Me too) alongside the film’s creators Alvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro, who compete for the Golden Shell Award with this, their first work that deals with the subject of “love without boundaries”.

via ‘Yo, también’, a film about Down’s , nominated for Golden Shell – EiTB News Entertainment.