OUTLIER: THE DOCUMENTARY
Captured immediately by sounds and images, the featured film Outlier: The Documentary, opens with scenes of Africa, spaces where seemingly ordinary children gather and play, giggle and bathe. Scenes in which an onlooker may not be able to distinguish one child from another, perhaps, to differentiate a child with autism and one without. After all, this is what children do, bare intrinsically human traits, their innocence a reflection of the society that surrounds them. Even the opening song selection of this film hints at a subtle command, coining the term, “baafira” to mean, “Don’t mind them; no matter how different or odd or terrible they may say you are, just don’t mind them.” We, the onlookers, are enticed with these pivotal scenes, shown the beauty of our land, foretold the beauty of the mind. In gradually captivating interviews, troubled parents whisper phrases on the screen such as, “Let the weak say I am strong, let poor say I am rich,” to describe the daily balance of the reality of raising a child baring autism. This is what Outlier does, highlights the level of awareness of autism and its challenges, intertwined with interactive and collaborative scenes of a family dealing with the struggles of raising a child who is also autistic.
According to a study conducted by Professor Jay P. Greene of educational reform at the University of Arkansas, students who are brought to see live films have enhanced knowledge of the information presented to them and vocabulary in these works, as well as having developed a greater tolerance and improved ability to read the emotions of others (Educationext.org). EKO PRODUCTION aims to provide a local, affordable, and culturally enriching viewing experience that will be academically and socially enhancing. They also aim to provide a platform, a way in which Autism can be learned about and discussed on a global spectrum, hoping to curb the stigmatization.
Because of these reasons and more, since its VIP screening in January 2017, this 29-minute short film has seen overwhelmingly positive reviews from the likes of critics and film lovers. Outlier continues to gain a diverse domestic and international audience approval due of its informative nature and insistent ability to provide a fresh perspective that celebrates our culture, differences, and awareness.
This production hopes to provide an opportunity for people to redefine the identity of Autism in Africa, seeks to open doors for others to view a commitment to bridging medicinal and social divides while upholding arts and community initiatives. Just as the opening of the film stirs its audience with an echo of the term “baafira,” its message too urges us to not mind the naysayers, to continue embracing the faces and minds of those who may not look like our own. We are reminded, “Don’t mind them; no matter how different or odd or terrible they may say we are, we just don’t mind them.” That is the power of this film, the beauty of its message.
Outlier tells us a story of Autism yes, but also one of love and of hope, of fight and of perseverance, and leaves us all chasing down the truth, climbing every black bough in search of some apparition of its mystery.