Sanctuary Dream

An Autism Simulation Movie

I ran into this while searching for authentic-looking movies dealing with autism. Sanctuary Dream is as authentic as it gets. Written and produced by Grant Carsten, a young man who is himself autistic, it thematizes domestic violence and homelessness, and attempts to simulate the way autistic people experience the world. This is achieved through unusual visual and sound effects, as well as the purposefully chopped-up narration.

The movie follows the journey of Faisal, an autistic teen, who flees from home and his abusive family in search of the Peace House, the titular dream sanctuary, where he could at last feel safe. Both the content and the presentation are raw, dissonant and disturbing, but the story ends on a hopeful note. Faisal finds the Peace House where one would least expect it at that point — in the company and kindness of well-meaning, open-minded people; and manages to connect with them through his interest in music and poetry.

For an indie production with a very modest budget, Sanctuary Dream is an amazing achievement. I enjoyed the soundtrack and the beautiful photography, and I was impressed by the performance of the lead actor, Traven Thomas, who was impeccable. I invite you to read the many thoughtful and overwhelmingly positive reviews on the Sanctuary Dream website, and visit its Facebook page for more info and some juicy behind-the-scenes morsels.

The movie can be purchased on Vimeo.