Telling a story is an act of generosity, as described by author George Saunders in this short film by Tom Mason and Sarah Klein. An author cannot approach the characters, situation or even the words with preconceptions, Saunders explains, and he demonstrates by elaborating simple sentences. George Saunders: On Story evinces the same creativity as its subject, finding in images and music ways to illustrate what Saunders says.
Director Roger Ross Williams has brought Mountainfilm audiences a pair of memorable movies: Music by Prudence and God Loves Uganda, which won the festival’s Audience Award in 2013. Now, he returns with another incredible documentary, this one about a boy named Owen Suskind whose autism made it impossible for him to communicate when he was young. When he became upset, which happened frequently, the best avenue to calm Owen was to let him watch animated Disney films. One day, Owen’s father, the renowned political writer Ron Suskind, went into his 8-year-old son’s room and grabbed a puppet of Iago, the parrot in Aladdin. Doing his best impression of the Gilbert Gottfried-voiced character, the father asked his son, “Owen, how does it feel to be you?” And Owen answered, providing the first conversation the two ever had. The film takes it from there, showing how story, imagination and the magic of movies can forge a family.