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THE PROJECT

During his adolescence, a person with Asperger Syndrome (AS, high functioning autistic condition) lives a very difficult period because he becomes aware of his social inabilities and his diversity. Free time risks to become an “empty time”, because he wishes to be like neurotypical peers (meeting friends, exchanging opinions about shared interests, engaging in group projects, empathize with other people, building relationships) but he can't. He needs a long training, a costant practice and activities aimed to do it.

Starting from these premises, in 2008 Not-Equal and Gruppo Asperger Onlus (an association which committs itself in families and Asperger people’s support and in promoting knowledge of Asperger Syndrome among public opinion and specialists) promoted a series of cultural activities aimed to stimulate and favorite the socialization among young people with AS. Although they attended school, they never managed to socialize with their classmates and partecipated to group activities. The idea was to use cinema as a tool for social inclusion and to create a protected enviroment where young people with AS could gradually move away from their parents and socialize with their contemporaries. So they began to meet each other in a Cinema Club, to watch movies and then to discuss about it, sharing feelings, impressions or opinions with the supervision of psychologists and film experts.

In a very short time and against any expectations, the project led to incredibile results: young Asperger people began to go out their isolation and started socializing, telling about themselves and “living”, as one of them told. Within few months, some of them expressed the desire to make the film selection by their own and to choose the themes to discuss, others were very interested in the technical aspects about film screening, others wanted to dedicate themselves to reception and enrollment of new members.

In 2010, four youngs, all aged 20 years old, were engaged in the organization of the film screening as active members. The idea was the self-management of the activities and it was the natural evolution of their personal path. The new project, realized thanks to the support of the European Program “Youth in Action”, has been called “The Aspie Sight - lo sguardo degli Aspie” because, for the first time, all the decisions and choices would have been taken by themselves, without any  supervision. The Aspie Sight’s project officially ended on July 2011. At the beginning of 2012, “The Aspie Sight”, the documentary that testifies this self-management experience, was ended and was sent to many Italian film festival. A new and exciting scenario has opened up for the working group: the partecipation to some film festivals which have selected the documentary. On March 2012, in the occasion of the World Autism Awareness Day , “The Aspie Sight”  was screened in Cinemautismo, a film review organized by the Association of The National Cinema Museum of Torino and Marco, one of the working team, was invited to partecipate to it.

Marco could talk with other young film makers, he was interviewed by local and national Network and during a public meeting regarding our documentary and lasting an hour, he answered to the public’s questions with a great ability and professionalism.But the most important thing was that Marco lived the exciting athmosphere of a film festival and its backstage. The idea of a new and more ambitious and complicate project was born: AS FILM FESTIVAL, an independent, international film festival, regarding social themes, the first in the world directly managed by people with Asperger Syndrome.