I am very happy to see an increase of media featuring young individuals with intellectual disabilities. “Keep the Change” is such a new film. It focuses on the ups and downs of a blossoming relationship between David and Sarah, two young adults on the autism spectrum who meet at a support group.
The distribution company Kino Lorber has acquired the rights to “Keep the Change.” The film will be featured at the 2018 ReelAbilities Film Festival before opening March 16 in New York. A national expansion will follow, Kino Lorber said.
Much of the cast — including the two lead characters — is made up of nonprofessional actors with autism. They are part of the Adaptations Group at the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan. “‘Keep The Change’ has been a labor of love for all involved, from our cast to our crew, our producers, and our community partners at the JCC’s Center for Special Needs,” said the film’s director Rachel Israel. “We made a unique, risk-taking film and it is wonderful to see it come to light on the big screen.” In addition to the win for best narrative feature, Israel was also named best new narrative director.
“Keep the Change” details David and Sarah’s affair with a kindness that doesn’t prevent it from generating comedy from their conditions, which often lead them to say inapt or peculiar things at random moments (such as David talking about his “hobophobia”). The film doesn’t mock their idiosyncrasies; it celebrates them in all their (often funny) forms. That extends to the raft of acquaintances David meets while at Connections, who in most cases are (like David and Sarah) played by autistic amateur actors who are all the more charming for being so unaffected.
Perhaps you know of other appearances in the media by individuals with intellectual disabilities. If so, will you share them with me and my other readers? The idea of celebrating idiosyncrasies rather than mocking them is all too often missing.