AutFest, the first film festival celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen,” has announced the addition of six short films to its first annual film festival on Saturday, April 22 – Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the AMC Orange 30 in Orange, CA.

Two of the short films, Even in Death and The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born, were written and directed by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. AutFest will take place during April, Autism Awareness Month.

AutFest will showcase the following short films to screen in its 2017 program on Saturday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.:

The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born / U.S.A. (Director: Dani Bowman)
In the first part of The Adventures of Pelican Pete trilogy, A Bird is Born tells a story of how Pelican Pete’s parents started building nests and raising their young. Based on the locally renown books by Hugh & Frances Kaiser, this movie is geared towards children and adults of all ages to teach them about ecology. (6 min.)

The Buddy System / U.S.A. (Director: William Harris and Megan Smith-Harris)
Reveals how a dog really does make a difference in the life of a child with autism. (59 min.)

Even in Death / U.S.A. (Director: Zac Davis)
Chronicles a day in the life of Jonah, a young boy living in New Orleans who is about to experience a loss in his family. Faced with grief, Jonah is visited by the Grim Reaper (Death) and is taken on a charming adventure through New Orleans that ends with Jonah learning a lesson in life and the true depth of love. (11 min.)

The Fox / U.S.A. (Director: Donna Lyons)
An offbeat comedy that tells the story of Harry, a 12-year-old boy who believes he’s a fox. (11 min.)

Spectrum: Story of the Mind / U.S.A. (Director: Jill Jones)
Explores autism through the lens of diverse characters on the spectrum, including Dr. Temple Grandin. (24 min.)

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth / U.S.A. (Director: Adam Smith)
Follows C.J., an 8-year-old autistic boy who lives in an imaginary world of dinosaurs. He spends every lunch and recess alone, playing with dinosaur games or puzzles. He’s never had a friend. With the aid of a 2-foot tall robot named KIWI, that is about to change. (7 min.)

Nine feature-length films are slated to screen at the festival. They include The Accountant (followed by a Q&A with honoree Ben Affleck), Asperger’s Are Us, Inside Out (followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera) and the Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated. The full list can be viewed at

As previously announced, AutFest will honor Oscar-winning director, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck and Pixar Animation Studios’ filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera (Inside Out) at the festival’s Closing Ceremony VIP Reception on Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 p.m. at at Cafe Tu Tu Tango. The reception will also present awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Performance, Audience Award and Best Autistic Filmmaker.

Presented by The Autism Society, AutFest’s mission is to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession. AutFest wishes to further advance the well-being of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism.

AutFest sponsors include Hyundai, AMC Theatres, Bob Wright, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Autism Guardian Angels, Fullerton Cares and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Media sponsors include ABC 7 Eyewitness News and Variety.

Tickets, festival passes and passes to the VIP Closing Reception can be purchased at

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