Right now we’re in the thick of festival season. Between Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York (and then eventually AFI), many of this season’s biggest awards contenders will premiere and launch a conversation that’ll last till the Oscars airs on February 28, 2016.

What you might not be as familiar with are the countless regional film festivals that crop up amidst the bigger, spotlight-grabbing fests. As someone who attends a lot of film festivals, I’m always on the hunt for fests that do something different — that say something others aren’t saying; that promote the kind of movies that don’t get Oscar attention, but are still worth championing for a number of different reasons.

All of that is a long-winded way of tossing the Golden Door International Film Festival onto your radar. 

I was introduced to this festival a few months back when I met its founders Bill and Michele Sorvino at a party celebrating the 25th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Bill Sorvino is actually Paul Sorvino’s nephew, and after chatting about the film I learned he and his wife also ran a small film festival out of Jersey City, New Jersey.

What was different about their festival — and what stood out to me, personally — was its connection to Autism Awareness, and its support of autism as a cause and as art. Their opening night film, Jack of the Red Hearts (directed by Janet Grillo), stars Annasophia Robb as a runaway teen who cons her way into a family’s home as a live-in helper for their autistic child only to discover she can connect with the little girl in a way no one else can.

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That’s just one of many films related to Autism — the festival devotes an entire segment of programming to Autism-related films, as well as seminars related to Autism awareness (Ed Asner will speak at one of their panels this year) and scholarships awarded to autistic student filmmakers.

This is all in addition to other local films, many of which are screened at one of the last remaining movie palaces, Jersey’s Landmark Loew’s Theatre. 

This year’s Golden Door International Film Festival kicks off Thursday, September 24. For more details on tickets and screenings, hit up their official website.

Article source: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/how-one-film-festival-spreading-autism-awareness-through-power-movies/19237?wssac=164&wssaffid=news