Unique Minds Celebrated at FilmAcademy360 Film Festival & Art Exhibit

DSC_0576For the third year, family, friends and the general public are invited to attend FilmAcademy360’s annual Film Festival. This exciting evening of film, video, and digital and traditional artwork will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre. Viewing starts at 6:30 pm.

At FilmAcademy360, our motto is – “Unique Minds Welcome!” We provide opportunities for individuals with autism and related disabilities to express their often unique perspectives through the creation of original films and videos. This year’s event will highlight the work of over 20 of this year’s students. Students and graduates from Academy360 and a range of public and private schools in northern NJ worked singly and in collaboration to create these short works. While the category of comedy/spoof is the most well represented, other genres will be shown as well.

StudentsDSC_0266 premiering their work range in age from 16 to 30. Most films are a few minutes long and were produced for FilmAcademy360’s Media Crunch YouTube channel. Our annual film festival gives students a public forum in which to showcase their talents. When our students see that people are excited to see what they doing, it raises their motivation and self-esteem.  Publicly displaying their work raises the bar for them, and the positive feedback they receive for their work is huge for our students. In addition to viewing the offerings, the audience will have the opportunity to engage in Q and A with our filmmakers.

FilmAcademy360 is not just a place to learn video skills. Our program has become a “home” for these students –a place to socialize, build friendships and collaborate with others. They feel great pride in their accomplishments and are excited to share their work. The work reflects their improved social skills and technical ability gained throughout the year and promotes a higher sense of engagement.

In a world where many of our students often feel out of place, FilmAcademy360 offers a sense of ownership, community, and positive identity. Many of our students have been with us for several years, and it is gratifying to see their confidence grow from year to year.

Rounding out the evening is an exhibition of digital and traditional artwork in the lobby of the museum, produced by our Academy360 Upper School students. Students and art teachers will be on hand to talk about their work and describe the techniques used to create it.

The combined display of artwork and film offered truly shows the wide range of talents and skills our students possess. Join us for a fun evening celebrating the amazing abilities our students demonstrate. You won’t be disappointed!

me pic njsbaDavid Di Ianni has been teaching at Academy360 Upper School for the past nine years.  He graduated with his Masters of Science in Education in 2016. As the Program Director of FilmAcademy360, he oversees the studio staff and directs instruction for students from multiple school districts including Academy360. David worked in broadcasting television internationally for many years before transitioning to education. When not at work, David enjoys time with his two children, including them in his favorite hobbies; hiking, painting, and guitar.