About a year ago and a half ago, I was scrolling through social media when a post in an autism group caught my eye—a casting call for an autistic child and their mother for the film Mandy’s Voice.
The film’s storyline, based on true events, is about a nonverbal autistic teen who finds a voice through facilitated communication.
The opportunity to be a part of this inspirational story compelled me to send my information to the casting agent.
Although I had experience in film as a middle school television production teacher and acting exposure in theater as a college student, the professional world of film was foreign to me. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it.
However, a few months later, over Zoom, I met with the director, Roxanne Lewis of Roxxiedanz Productions.
Roxanne emphasized the importance for this film to be authentic to the community it represented. As a parent of an autistic son, that resonated with me.
She offered me the supporting role of Tessa, best friend to Mandy’s mother, played by the incredibly talented Karen Sillas.
Autism-self-advocate, model, singer and actress, Rachel Barcellona plays the lead, Mandy and Barclay plays my son.
Rounding out the cast as the trusted facilitator, is Crystal Thompson, founder of Believe Autism in Jacksonville.
Roxanne, alongside Josh Hansbrough of Birdman Filmworks and Sharon Y. Cobb as Executive Producers, as well as the entire production team authentically capture the frustration and connection between an overwhelmed, yet dedicated mother and her nonverbal, intelligent daughter.
Barclay enjoyed the whole process. Film day, he got to play on a film set and blow bubbles with Rachel.
To him, it was just like hanging out with a best friend!
To me, it was an experience that I will never forget I got to share with my son!
This film is sure to bring to the screen an emotional journey that leaves the viewer both wounded and uplifted long after the credits have rolled.
Mandy’s Voice is slated to hit film festivals in early 2023 and hopefully available to the public shortly thereafter.
All images and videos are the property of Mandy’s Voice Film and posted here with permission. Please visit Mandy’s Voice Film for more information.
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