The Excitement of going to our first film festival at The Staller Center in SBU.

We did it! It was amazing for all of us ! We are intelligent , we are curious , we are the news media team @autisticana.

We love to investigate and educate. Our coach Dr. Christine wanted us to learn about real film making. We all love to watch movies as we do in our theatre room at our news media station house.

Christine said , “ This is different then attending a movie theatre. To attend a film at a film festival is to really appreciate the making of a documentary, an original, and a short film, produced by up and coming enthusiasts in the film world.

As Dr. Christine put it , “ This is a place where academics show up to discuss the makings of a production and the content that goes into it .

It is a movie forum where the curious minded individuals like us get to enjoy a film and then discuss everything behind it. Almost like a live book club, but on the big screen.

What exactly is a film festival and how did it all begin ?

Film festivals are events that are typically staged by universities , private organizations, local communities, art associations and film societies. This is a venue that provides upcoming film makers to get their work in front of live audiences where they can have their films critiqued by professionals.

Films that get accepted into the film festival open up the opportunity of film maker presentations to be exposed to the press in an opportunity to be picked up by professional agents and buyers in the field. Sometimes a winning film can lead to a cash award.

Dr. Christine said it was time to go above watching a movie and attend a community event to explore a new forum and learn a bit of education about what goes into making a movie of substance.

She then reached out to the famous Staller Center of Stony Brook University. To our surprise they called her back within five minutes.

They were beyond kind , and expressed to us that “ The Autisticana News Team “ will have ten free passes waiting for us at the box seat office.

Wow! Was our first reaction. We felt like an important team. Did our hard work suddenly pay off ?

We immediately prepared interviews questions and practiced quickly as Dr.Christine helped us with a Que sheet to interview the panel at the film festival.

We experienced two films , one a short film leading into a documentary. It reminded us of a warm up band before a concert.

The films

Queen Moorea

The short was a fabulous surprise almost heaven sent. It was called Queen Moorea and was about Neurodiversity ! Who would have expected we would be enjoying a film about us !

Queen Moorea the short film is about a young lady in her twenties with a rare genetic disability, who refuses to see herself as disabled, as we all say we have more abilities than most.

Moorea graduated from High School and was awarded homecoming queen. She spent part of her days attending job training programs to transition her into a career. She finally got a job but then lost it due to the Coronavirus-19 pandemic . This was definitely a job for her, not a desired career . We all related so much to how she felt in this job position that did not serve her.

Her dream was to become a cardiologist, and now she is attending community college . As our coach tells us , we can be everything we wish for if we are consistent with our passion. If you love what you do and do what you love then you will obtain your chosen career despite challenges that are put in front of you.

Moorea had also won many beauty pageants . She also met the love of her life Jordan and plan on having children together.

Can we neurodivergent people have it all ? Why not , we work hard and deserve to, so we will. This film inspired all of us that we are on the correct path.

The next day we had our own panel addressing an issue that hits home. The scene where Moorea was working at her job and asked why she was minimized to just pick weeds in the garden,when she had so much to offer. As disabled ABLED individuals unfortunately we have all experienced the demeaning amongst our “ higher -ups” at work as well as our neurotypical peers. Some of our team had their own feelings they wanted to express .

“ The public is starting to notice, not only at this festival but everywhere that we aren’t just weird people. We are normal, but it’s a different kind of normal. I, myself, and others too have struggled to be noticed because of our vastly different qualities.

That push to be noticed, being different and struggling through that difficulty. That film showed us that anything is possible if you pursue it. We all have a place in this world. It’s how we make an impact, is what matters. We are proud newsmakers and hope that if we keep it up , we will have an impact on society. “

Another team member had this to say ,

“My opinion on the short film about the autistic woman was that it was very interesting as well as inspiring. Listening to her dreams as well as her family supporting her had a deep impacted on me. It is the courage and inspiration that we hold in our own personal power along with the support from our family and mentors is what keeps us on track to pursue our dreams. We have found another family here at our news desk and are stronger as a team than we are alone.

The second film educated and left an impression on us as well.

Radioactive-3 mile island

This was about the nuclear accident in three mile island near Middletown Pa. Unfortunately another environmental disaster that the government hid, like thousands of other unfortunate stories that lead to decades of illnesses. This power plant disaster was considered to be one of the biggest cover ups that hasn’t been uncovered until recently.

In 2018, Heidi met a support group about nuclear accidents who lost loved ones at three mile Island in Middletown PA.

Heidi Hunter didn’t know about anything it, the news didn’t say anything about it, they minimized it until a concerned mother’s group

knew nothing about the nuclear power plants and the NRC ineligible impact on their health. The officials stated that there was an emergency but that it was not dangerous to the public and that they had it all under control .

This lie, led to decades of tragic illnesses and unnecessary deaths. Four powerful woman came together to fight for their lives and for their loved ones who was destroyed because of this accident.

Is it easier to be honest with the public and assist humanity in times of tragedy or brush it under the rug out of greed , only to be brought down decades later ? Let the viewer decide .

A commentary note from our editor in chief

Jackson Beach

“I really thought these two films were a perfect reflection of two common themes in the world. Queen Moore’s represented that neurodivergent kids and disability kids have a place in this world and are capable of achieving great things such as pageants and careers. This reflects autisticana’s goal to prove that neurodivergent people can make great news stories and are capable of working together.

The film Radioactive shows the viewer how politicians and people of authority in government and community cover up vital information which usually results in tragedy and death such as in three mile island .There will always be those heroes like the four mother’s who were enraged to see so many people die due to radiation sickness and many more that have permanent health defects. They stood tall together to uncover the truth and do what is right for society .

The film Radioactive reflects our desire to uncover the truth about our world and spin it in our own light. We are that ray of light at The News Makers @ autisticana and hope to shine our light in the thousands of stories we have published and will publish in the years to come.

We want to thank Paul Newland and his outreach team at The Staller Center for the Arts .

This Center is an extraordinary place Located on the main campus of Stony Brook University, it consists of two main divisions. One section houses the music and art departments, while the other consists of the theatre, media, and dance departments. The Staller Center contains three black-box theaters, a recital hall, the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery and a professional 1,000-seat performance stage that features a 40-foot movie screen and is the site of the Stony Brook Film Festival. The Staller Center has hosted several nationwide events such as the New York Science Fiction Forum in 1998 and more recently the Live Action Role Playing League’s production of A Link to the Past. The black-box theaters are used by the theater arts department and Pocket Theater Club for stage performances of plays.

We are so grateful at this center for hosting us and allowing us to interview all of them.

The Staller Center is the jewel of Stony Brook . The hard work , philanthropy funding and dedication has allowed our community to experience education in the arts of all sorts.

Our team at autisticana give this event and the Staller Center and it’s dedicated employees five stars. We are excited to have met all of you and hope we can collaborate in the future to inspire, educate and empower all walks of life.

With gratitude and admiration

The News Team


In honor of Catherine Grimaldi Pane our Coach’s beloved sister and The Stand Tall Foundation.


Catherine was a special education teacher to all the kids that nobody wanted and to all of the kids that were misrepresented. We will shine our light through our stories as she shines her light on us from above ….

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