The uplifting documentary short AUTISM: THE SEQUEL revisits the five young adults who were originally featured in the HBO’s 2007 Emmy®-winning “Autism: The Musical,” a poignant, heartwarming film that followed the subjects as children as they wrote and performed their own musical. The looming question in everyone’s mind at that time was, “what will happen to these kids when they grow up?” We find out in AUTISM: THE SEQUEL as the original subjects, now in their early 20s, navigate what independence means to them and the challenges and triumphs for adults on the autism spectrum.
Weaving together present-day interviews with footage of the subjects and their families shot 12 years ago, AUTISM: THE SEQUEL debuts TUESDAY, APRIL 28 (9:00-9:45 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, in commemoration of National Autism Awareness Month. The eye-opening 40-minute sequel offers an inside look into the everyday lives of Neal, Wyatt, Lexi, Henry and Adam, young adults with autism and varying abilities – some of whom are thriving in college, while others work towards effective communication and emotional expression.
The film, along with “Autism: The Musical,” will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
In 2006, Elaine Hall launched The Miracle Project, a musical theater workshop for children with autism that she originally created for her adopted son, Neal, who is on the autism spectrum. As Hall says, “’Autism: The Musical’ showed that these children deserve to be loved, valued, given opportunities, given services,” noting that while school-based funding for autism stops at age 22 in California, support is needed well into adulthood.
The five young adults featured in the film include:
- Neal, who works at a farm in Malibu and has made great strides in his ability to communicate, in spite of his struggles with speech.
- Wyatt, an outgoing student at Portland State University on the cusp of an exciting new chapter as he moves away from home and into the college dorms.
- Lexi, who moved into North Hollywood’s ETTA Group Home for Women two years ago, where she adapts to measured independence from her parents and enjoys taking her singing lessons nearby.
- Henry, who is virtually self-sufficient as he lives alone in San Francisco and works towards a degree in film and television studies at the Academy of Art University.
- Adam, a talented cellist studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston with the assistance of his mother, who moved across the country to support him.
HBO Documentary Films presents AUTISM: THE SEQUEL, directed by Tricia Regan; produced by Sasha Alpert, Tricia Regan; executive produced by Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, Kristen Stills; edited by Inbal B. Lessner, A.C.E.; original music by Mike Semple. For HBO: supervising producer, Jesse Weinraub; executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller.