Born Different

James, a teenager with autism, knows what it’s like to feel like an outsider. He wrestles between standing back and doing what he knows is right.

James, a teenager with autism, likes to mind his own business. Social interactions aren’t easy for him, and he’s happiest in his own world. He keeps his head down, listening to his music and taking care of his crystal collection. But when he notices a group of boys bullying a younger kid, Ari, in the playground, he is faced with a decision - stand back and watch, or do something about it.

He hears Ari crying in the bathroom, and knows he should do something. Later, when he notices the bullies playing a cruel game of piggy in the middle, he decides to intervene. James intercepts the ball, and slowly hands it to Ari. It’s an offering of friendship and new beginnings - an olive branch. After an uncertain moment, they realise they can all play together, even if they are a bit different.

Ari stand in a school corridor reading a book by himself. James stands in the distance, looking on at Ari

From the Directors - Miryam Jacobi and Jack Barry at 2113 Creatives
This story was inspired by the incredible young people we worked with at Touch Compass. James, our lead actor, said to us “I wish people knew what it was like to be born different.” This became the heart of the film, which stars a group of children with mixed abilities. Some have autism, dyspraxia, Down Syndrome, dyslexia, to name a few. But that doesn’t mean they can’t give beautiful, dramatic performances and tell stories that matter. In the media, there is so much focus on disability and how it dis-ables people. We wanted to show what these young people can do. Born Different is a film for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

Copyright Two One One Three Creatives Ltd and Touch Compass. Published with permission.

Born Different was created with the support of the Ministry of Youth Development, Creative NZ, Department of Post and Foundation North.