Home #Hwoodtimes Autistic Awareness in Films 

Autistic Awareness in Films 

Jonathan Carlander, an innovative up-and-coming autistic filmmaker, creates a highly-emotional and impactful short film with a large ensemble cast. Our featured players are legendary horror actor Tony Moran (“Halloween”, “Death House”), and Eva-Marie Fredric (“The Second Coming of Christ”, “What Still Remains”). We also have an array of up-and-coming young talent, such as award-winning actress Danene Montella (“Del Capelo’s Eternal”, “Club Rats”), Jenna Seede (“NCIS”), Crash Buist (Netflix’s “The Most Hated Woman in America”, “Rewrite”), Ian Delaney (ZombieCON, “Every Single Day”), an autistic actor named John Utalan, as well as a large ensemble of emerging Latin talent, such as Lys Perez, Teresa Bredenberg, and Julian Ortega.

This large and accomplished cast depicts the physical and emotional struggles of three American families living with autism. This wholly-unique production has autistic actors, an autistic crew, as well as an original score composed by autistic music composer Paul Bell. Paul regularly collaborates with our score producer Frank Unzueta, an accomplished composer and musician whose music has been heard around the world.

Produced by Eric Blackburn (BlackBurn Films), in association with BruJaja Productions (Jennifer Saffary, Francisco Ceron) and Jonathan Carlander Films, this short film is an official selection of the prestigious Golden Door International Film Festival 2018, which is located in New Jersey. This auspicious fest has a program highlighting autism awareness in Fine Arts, which we have been accepted into. Our film has also been accepted into the Glendale International Film Festival, which is located in California. 

“Autistic America” was also shown just prior to many screenings of “Avengers: Infinity War” across several cities in the US this past summer, specifically for the benefit of families living with autism. Also, with the help of Pieces of Me, Inc. (a prominent non-profit here in Southern California, headed by an extremely-generous woman named Tamika Austin), our film was shown in a private screening at the famed LA Live Regal Cinemas. This generous non-profit holds a great many events in their community, and they have decided to use this film as a motivational and teaching tool for the families they work with, as they cope with the many struggles “Autistic America” touches on.

We are also pleased to report that Steve Turner, a renowned Ventura College Special Education teacher, has also chosen to become a lending talent for this film; he has screened it at a well-attended event to promote diversity and inclusion of differently-abled artists, as well as other aspiring professionals. Steve is nothing short of a warrior when it comes to creating and inspiring self-acceptance for those who most badly need it (which is often achieved by hiring autistic guest speakers, who go on to motivate many of his special needs students), and he tirelessly advocates for the positive release of emotions through the beautiful art of filmmaking.

Our writer and director, Jonathan Carlander, has a degree in Fine Arts from the prestigious Columbia College Hollywood; he has devoted his life’s work towards creating films of all lengths and genres that help to raise autism awareness. He is currently crowdfunding for his next project, which he hopes will facilitate his quest towards entertainment industry inclusion…for his many peers and colleagues, as well as himself.

Autistic America

Writer/Director: Jonathan Carlander

Producers: Eric Blackburn, Jennifer Saffary,

Francisco Ceron
Official Selection(s)
Golden Door International Film Festival 
Glendale International Film Festival 
Next articleLife is Beautiful 2018
Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.