Former Grinnell Resident Produces Documentary on Non-Speaking Autism

GRINNELL, Iowa- Grinnell College will show an award-winning documentary, featuring a former Grinnell Resident, on non-speaking autism.

The documentary “Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t be a Lottery” will feature the story of DJ Savarese. He was abandoned at birth due to his disability. He found a loving family in Grinnell where he learned to read and write using a text to voice synthesizer.

DJ went on to graduate from Grinnell High School, and also graduated with honors from Oberlin College, with a double major in anthropology, and creative writing.

The story shows challenges he faced in fitting in and moving forward with his education. The documentary shows how classmates participated in a drama written by DJ to show the struggles he was facing.

A news release from Grinnell College stated this is “a first-of-its kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and Savarese share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism.”

The film won Best Feature Film at three film festivals, including Superfest International Disability Film Festival in Berkeley, according to the news release.

The film will be shown at 7 pm,  Thursday 2.15.18 at Harris Cinema, in Grinnell. DJ Savarese will be there to answer questions at the conclusion of the documentary.

Here is a trailer for this documentary: