So Far, So Near

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So Far, So Near2016-10-16T00:43:53+00:00

Project Description

Category

Genredokument
CopyrightAH production
Andreas n.o.
RTVS
2014

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The film contemplates the coexistence of autistic children with their parents. It strives to find new ways of looking at this serious disorder of the human psyche. It debunks generally held stereotypes about this disorder and takes up parents‘ issues as well as love between people with autism.

Plagát k filmu

Poster

The film offers a look into the lives of people with autism while challenging generally held opinions in society about this developmental disorder. This is an unusual film about the environment in families with autistic children, which reveals the day-to-day challenge of life with them. It is not, however, built on dialogue and testimony, but on specific, naturally occurring situations in which it contemplates the issues of familial and romantic love for people with autism. The documentary was made over the course of seven years in cooperation with a nonprofit organization called the Andreas Autism Centre, which provides expert and comprehensive support to people with autism, as well as to their families.

Oficial website: www.takdalekotakblizko.sk/en

Producer: Barbara Harumová Hessová
Coproducer: Kateřina Nakládalová
Story and Screenplay: Marek Leščák, Jaro Vojtek
Director: Jaro Vojtek
DOP: Noro Hudec, Jaro Vojtek
Editor: Peter Harum
Sound design: Dušan Kozák
Sound mixing by: Bohumil Martinák

Production and distribution of this film was supported by Audiovisual fund.

Title: Tak ďaleko, tak blízko
Original language: slovenský
Subtitles: anglické
Running time: 80 minút
Film format: 1920×1080 25p, 16:9, COLOUR
Medium: DCP 25p, Blu-ray, DVD
Sound: 5.1
Genre: Dokumentárny
Year of premiere: 2015
Year of production: 2014
Distribution premiere: 2.4.2015
Copyright: AH production, Andreas n.o., RTVS
Oficial website: www.takdalekotakblizko.sk/en
Facebook stránka: facebook.com/takdalekotakblizko
The theme of autism found me, as with many other themes before that. Katka Nakládalová, who runs the Andreas Autism Centre approached me about making a 20-minute film for the centre’s educational purposes. As I went deeper into the subject of autism however, it didn’t seem sufficient for families with autistic children to have such a small space to present their daily lives. And so I began to work on a feature-length film, which took about seven years.
As the parents of these children have realized, I too came to understand with time that it’s not possible to penetrate the world of autism. The only way is to observe it from the outside, get close to it through the children’s relationships with their surroundings and their loved ones. I tried to shoot what is different about life for autistic people, what distinguishes their ordinary existence from ours. People with autism have their needs and it is a question of how the families around them fulfil these needs and to what extent it influences their own lives. One interesting discovery was that these children’s parents had understood that they have to forget about medicines, forget about various treatment methods and try to create the kind of environment that these children need the most, where they feel the best.
For this reason, the film So Far, So Near is about the creation of special relationships between those with autism, their families and the people around them. This symbiosis is often about the denial of one’s own personal needs in favour of the needs of the autistic person. I strived to choose protagonists with various types of autism so that I could create a multi-coloured and more three-dimensional picture of this disorder, which defies (often distorted) generalization. Autism is not about being a genius, being gifted or being totally withdrawn. The relationship of parents to an autistic child is above all about sacrifice and difficult everyday care.

Jaro Vojtek

It all began with my colleague Martina S’s quite bold idea to make a documentary about autism. When she presented it to us, she said: “And it will be shot by Jaro Vojtek”.
To the rest of us, who had until then had no experience with this subject, the plan seemed too bold. But when we thought more deeply about it, we had to admit that it was just the thing needed to enlighten people. It happened then and happens to this day that people’s consciousness and image of those who have the disorder is significantly distorted. There is an opinion that it is now a modern diagnosis and the number of those diagnosed is growing thanks only to better diagnostic methods. But this cannot be entirely true, since statistics in the world are alarming and indicate a incidence of one child in 100 born as compared to one in 5,000 15-20 years ago. We often meet with another opinion – that these are gifted children who have certain ingenious gifts and capabilities, which we just have to find in them. The film Rainman partially contributed to this distorted point of view. It was one of the first that dealt with this diagnosis on a global scale, but it only presented highly functioning autism in the tiniest representative case. Everyday life with autism is, to a very high degree, diametrically different from the story in the film. It often exists alongside mental retardation, metabolic disorders, aggression and auto-aggression. Causal treatment of autism, despite years-long research efforts, does not exist and the only thing available is behavioural approaches for improving these people’s quality of life and developing their ability to communicate with their surroundings.
In addition to our colleague Martina, to whom we say a big THANK YOU, there were other people on the path to today’s introduction of this film onto the market. Without these people, we would have had trouble orienting ourselves in an area that was new to us. For a nonprofit organization, taking on the role of producer was biting off more than we could chew. So we took Jaro Vojtek’s advice and decided to work together with the production firm AH Production. Thus, our cooperation with producer Barbara Harumova Hessova began. During seven long years, while our long and time-consuming project gradually took shape and became what it is today, lovely friendships also emerged between all of those who took part in the film’s creation. We felt their strong support, for which we are extremely grateful.
Today I am very excited that seven years after we first met with director Jaro Vojtek, a documentary film that strives to bring life with autism in Slovak families closer to the viewer has actually arrived. I believe that in addition to being educational, it will also be a platform for further discussion about this society wide problem that is growing at an alarming rate.

Kateřina Nakládalová

The making of this film in cooperation with the Andreas Autism Centre began in 2007. Given ANDREAS‘ orientation as a non-profit organization focused on support in diagnosing and dealing with the phenomenon of autism, the beginning of film production was an enormous burden for them. We are happy that we could join the project and oversee its implementation, as well as the production side, so that the film could be completed and brought to viewers in cinemas. For this we thank the Audiovisual Fund, the Ministry of Culture and RTVS for their support. Through archival material shot by the director himself and also from the parents‘ archives, a cross-section of the main characters‘ lives from childhood to adulthood was available. It was complicated to decide what character to give the film, and it actually emerged gradually in the editing room itself while we continued to shoot more and more new situations – moments from the families‘ lives. Originally we shot footage in five families, but such a large quantity of footage couldn’t fit into the film. In terms of time and production efficiency, this was a challenging project because people with autism can only concentrate and deal with being surrounded by film crews for very short periods. For this reason it was not easy to plan and shoot the film in a conventional way. It required a flexible, tolerant and generous approach from the entire film crew, for which we are extremely grateful. For these reasons, our shooting workday was short. From this point of view, a value-oriented, multi-year film project is complicated. We would like to express our enormous gratitude especially to the parents and relatives who allowed us to enter into their often painful private lives. They were willing to open up and share their fate with us. Caring for people with autism is incredibly difficult. Parents and relatives are often misunderstood and disadvantaged in the social context of our society. Together with the staff of AC Andreas, we would like to bring the world of autism closer to the general public and, in so doing, debunk myths and prejudices in an effort to find a more sensitive approach both to people with this diagnosis and to their families.

Barbara Harumová Hessová