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‘In A Different Key’ Autism Doc Debuts at OFF Thursday

“In A Different Key,” a true story about love, difference and the fight to belong, will debut at the Oxford Film Festival on Thursday with the star of the documentary, Donald Triplett of Forest, watching the film in person.

Triplett, born in the 1930s, holds a unique place in history as the first person diagnosed with autism before the medical community even had a word for autism. Now in his late 80s, Triplett and Forest are featured prominently in the film, acknowledging how the community has embraced him and supported his different abilities.

“We are thrilled ‘In A Different Key’ is making its film debut in Mississippi where the story of autism began,” said Caren Zucker, co-director and co-producer of the film. “Donald being there to watch the film is history in the making.”

The film debuts at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Oxford Conference Center.

The film is just one of the hundreds being shown throughout the Film Festival that kicks off tonight. Visit the Oxford Film Festival online for the complete schedule and ticket information, visit https://www.ox-film.com/schedule-film-guide.

The movie begins with Zucker asking if Triplett’s life has included a sense of belonging, and the opportunity to grow and know love. Zucker, who has an adult son with autism, is on a quest to know if Triplett’s life holds promise for her own son, Mickey McGuinness.

Picking up from the Pulitzer Prize Finalist book, which explored autism’s turbulent past in the framework of a civil rights movement, the film version of “In A Different Key” pivots into the movement’s present and future.

Built around a fascinating discovery – that the first child diagnosed with autism still lives in his hometown – the movie highlights the exemplary way Triplett’s community has watched out for and included him. It also reveals how so many others in communities across the country were abused or excluded, owing to a lack of research and understanding about autism as well as social forces like racism, stigmatization and poverty.

Co-directors and co-producers Caren Zucker, left, and John Donvan, right. Photos provided.

According to John Donvan, documentary co-director and co-producer, “The stories we tell add up to a commonsense realization that autism is just one more wrinkle in the fabric of humanity, and that none of us gets through life unwrinkled.

“We took a journalistic approach to reporting and writing the book and film to fully document the story of autism from the perspectives of the individuals and families involved.”

To learn more about the film, visit: inadifferentkeythemovie.com.

Staff report

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