Student short film highlighting their struggles with autism competing in SXSW Film Festival

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Students' documentary to compete at SXSW film festival.

Making it into the SXSW festival is no easy task, so you can imagine the excitement of a group of local students from Langham Creek High on FM 529 in northwest Harris County. Their project focuses on a special bond they share and the struggles with autism.

"I was directing," said Jared DeDonato. "I did the editing."

DeDonato stepped into a role he never thought would bring him this far.

"I never had a video that's going to a film festival," said DeDonato.

He directed a film selected as a finalist for the Texas High School Shorts competition as part of the SXSW film festival in March.

"I'm gonna be famous for this," said DeDonato.

He's excited because for the first time, he and his friends, get a chance to have a voice after feeling muted for so long. The short film, Through the Eyes of Autism, takes you into the mind of these four students.

"How I was treated in my life because of that," said Connor Slaton, another student in the film. "There were some moments when people took advantage of my autism."

"Kids take one look at us and go why are these autistic morons here and they judge us before they know us," said DeDonato.

Throughout the course of putting the short film together, it also helped them gain some confidence.

"I'm kinda very excited and my heart is pumping," said Rodolfo Castro, another student in the film.

Rodolfo, who is typically shy, has been able to open up and showcase his hidden talent.

"This is a big leap for those with autism. We took the time and devotion to say what we had to say about autism," said Connor Slaton.

The short, Through the Eyes of Autism, will be shown at the SXSW Film Festival March 11-19 in Austin. They're up against 24 others in their category and four from the Houston area. The awards ceremony is on Tuesday, March 15.

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