Thursday, November 6, 2014

OUCARES Film Premier

I have covered the OUCARES Film Premier since 2011 and attended four different film premiers.  This film premier was different because this year, I started teaching animation for OUCARES.  It became more personal to me, seeing my students walk down the red carpet and seeing students from my classes on the film itself.

It gave me more backstory into what some of those students had gone through because I had seen it firsthand.

MCs Dick Purton and daughter Jackie Purton oversaw this 9th Annual OUCARES Film Premier.  A camper participating in the youngest group of students was Jackie’s son and Dick’s grandson. 

MCS Dick and Jackie Purton
“(The campers) learned about everything from film making to friendship,” said Jackie Purton.
Joey Travolta brought his film camp to Oakland University back in 2005 and it is clear that he takes great passion in his work, having been called the “superstar” of the OUCARES autism program.
Travolta teaches his campers not only about the film making process.  He taught his campers about life.

The campers started every day of the two week program by dancing and everyone was required to participate.  MC Jackie Purton stated that she may have embarrassed her son with her dancing.
During the interview process, one of the questions he asked was that he wanted to spend a lot of money to go see all the Monday night football games and he hadn’t told his wife, what should he do?  The students came up with a variety of answers. 

While this produced a comical effect at the film premier, it also caused the students to think a lot about everyday ethics, personal relationships, and decision making.  All of which were serious, real-life skills which improve the quality of life for these campers and all participants at OUCARES programs.  Travolta also used personas such as “Evil Joey” to instruct the campers of these all-important real life lessons.

 “They had to work and prove themselves to professionals,” said MC Jackie Purton.
Since the age limit for the campers is 19, in the last year Joey Travolta has brought a film camp to the OUCARES Meadows Facility which staffs many film professionals handpicked by Travolta himself.
 “These skillsets are leading to employment,” said OUCARES Director Kathy Sweeney.

Sweeney took the podium during her last film premier as Director of OUCARES.  During her presentation, Sweeney stated that 16 years ago, 1/1000 school aged children were being diagnosed with autism.  Now, 1/68 children are being diagnosed with autism.

What really stood out to me was when Sweeney stated that autism is just “another form of diversity in the world.”

As an individual on the spectrum myself and as someone who now teaches those on the autism spectrum, I have to say that this could not be more factual.