Summit County Library Book to Film Club gets ‘Life, Animated’
Free screening and discussion set for April 13
Book to Film Screening: “Life, Animated”
- When: 6 p.m., Thursday, April 13
- Where: Summit County Library Kimball Junction auditorium. 1885 W. Ute Blvd.
- Cost: Free
- Web: thesummitcountylibrary.org/events/book-film-club-life-animated
Upcoming Book to Film Club screenings
Discussions are at 6 p.m., and at the Kimball Junction Branch, unless otherwise noted
- “Everything is Illuminated - Thursday, May 11
- “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” - Thursday, June 8
- “The Queen's Gambit” - Thursday, July 13 (Zoom Meeting)
- “Concrete Cowboy” - Thursday, Aug. 10 (Zoom Meeting)
- “Worth” - Thursday, Sept. 14 (Zoom Meeting)
- “The Wonder” - Thursday, Oct. 12 (Zoom Meeting)
- “Devotion” - Thursday, Nov. 9
- “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” - Dec. 14 (Zoom Meeting)
The PG-rated film will screen at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction auditorium, 1885 W. Ute Blvd.
The movie, winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival‘s Best Director Documentary and Best Documentary Grand Jury Prize, is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind‘s memoir, “Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism.” The book, published in 2014, details the struggles Suskind and his family had in connecting and communicating with his son Owen, who is autistic, said Daniel Compton, Summit County Library director.
“We will watch the film together and then have a discussion about the book and film,” he said. “I have not yet seen the film, and I’m not quite finished with the book,” he said. “But it has been fascinating to read about Ron, and how he and his family were able to connect and interact with his son Owen through the dialogue of Disney movies.”
The book and film were recommended by one of the Books to Film Club members, Compton said.
“She approached me and said April is National Autism Awareness Month, and felt this book and film would fit with that theme,” he said. “I had heard about the film because it was at Sundance, and also thought it would be perfect.”
The book has made an impact on Compton’s life.
“As a parent myself reading about the challenge this family has in just trying to connect with their son, I can’t imagine the feelings they were going through as they took him to different therapists to figure out what was going on,” he said. “Before Owen turned 3, it seemed like everything was normal, and all of a sudden a switch just flipped and the parents couldn’t connect with them. I think of how I would have handled this situation.”
The story hits close to home for Compton, because one of his family members is on the spectrum.
“Reading the book is helping me understand what her family is going through as well,” he said. “It’s good to have books and films like these that help us all to become more understanding, because everyone has different challenges. And I think that’s why we read. We read to connect and understand and try to be better humans.”
While it’s helpful if people read the book before the screening, it’s not a requirement, Compton said.
“With our club, people can just come watch the movie and take off after the screening,” he said. “But they are also more than welcome to stay and participate in the discussion.”
The discussions are designed to be safe places where people can express themselves without judgment, Compton said.
“One thing I love about these discussions is having a civil dialogue, because we’re not seeing civil dialogues in this country,” he said. “We’re all respectful and give everyone some space, because we want to encourage everyone who wants to speak to speak.”
Compton also enjoys getting to know those who attend the screenings and discussions.
“I love hearing the different perspectives and varied life experiences they bring to the table,” he said. “They all share unique insights that we may not read in the book or see in the movie.”
Still, the book is available in various check-out forms for those who want to read it before Thursday, Compton said.
“The audiobook is always available on the Libby app, and there is no waiting for that or the e-book,” he said. “We also have physical copies of the book available at the library.”
The Summit County Library has hosted its Book to Film Club screenings and discussions for nearly a decade, Compton said.
“We’ve done them even through a pandemic where we found ways to make it happen and meet through Zoom,” he said.
The club still does Zoom discussions, usually when they can’t get a license to host a public film screening, according to Compton.
“We’ll have people watch the films on their own at home on streaming services, and we’ll then host a discussion on Zoom,” he said.
The exhibit will feature paintings, jewelry, fiber work and photography of “inspiring color, texture and imagination,” and a chance for the artists to interact with the public and each other.
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