International Film Exchange

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Film explores Brighton boy's big love for art

The sculptures that make up the Brighton Biennial public art display have prompted outrage, admiration and plenty of conversation. Now, they've inspired a film. "Austin's Movie," the story of an autistic boy's blossoming after he came in contact with the statues, will be screened at the 2008 Brighton International Film Festival on June 26 at the Art Gallery of Windsor. John Sauvé, 42, the former curator of the biennial, produced the half-hour documentary that captures a day in the life of Austin Blake, 10, of Brighton. "The movie is about Austin's daily life. It talks about his interaction with the public art," Sauvé said. "It talks about the controversies with the Brighton Biennial. The sculpture becomes a lightning rod for other issues all the things people would see wrong with the community. "Some people's reactions to the statues puzzled Austin, said his mother, Faith Smith, 37. "One sculpture had a big hand, and people would put cigarette butts and gum on the hand," Smith recalled. "It disgusted him. He couldn't understand why people would do that." Sauvé said he hopes his movie will show how public art has a positive impact. Tim Nagae directed "Austin's Movie." "I think Austin is a very intresting kid," said Nagae, 40, of Ann Arbor. "Also, I think we have to introduce Austin to show autistic people's culture and nature. I think it will be helpful to fight against ... discrimination." Smith said she hopes the movie will prompt an awareness and acceptance of people with autism. "If it triggers a passion in someone, whether volunteering with special needs or art, then I think it's done its job," she said of the movie.