Aaron's Light Movie

$4,050 of $15k goal

Raised by 58 people in 13 months
Dianne M. Pacl  WOODBRIDGE, CT



AARON'S LIGHT Feature Film
Screenplay by Dianne Pacl & Valerie Leri

Three years ago my twin sister Val and I embarked on an extraordinary journey – writing a screenplay for  Aaron’s Light feature film. This is the story of a brilliant young man with autism who pursues a dream of attending Yale’s School of Architecture. It is a movie that will be filmed almost entirely at Yale University and in the City of New Haven.

This project has brought some incredible people into the fold, many of whom are following their own paths to motivate positive social change. My own path has been one of a Graphic Designer and Human Services Consultant, providing vocational services for autistic and special needs consumers for 23 years.  I have met many extraordinary people, two of whom have been the inspiration for the main character of Aaron.  It is my belief that this film will change the way people perceive persons with disabilities as well as providing personal and professional opportunities for people with special needs.

This film is taking shape and moving forward in ways beyond our initial expectations. At the request of a Fortune 500 company, we are now in the process of preparing a final prospectus for their review. This entails expanding our presentation materials to include budget, schedule, business and marketing plans, and legal documents. Our primary production team of three (Kim Cooper, Valerie Leri,  and I) have created solid working drafts of the required materials. We are now, however, at the critical juncture of requiring the services of experts. We have assembled industry professionals, among them an accomplished line producer and an entertainment lawyer, who are prepared to help us. We are quite confident that with this support we can secure the sponsorship for the production of Aaron’s Light.

To secure these professionals and thus bring us to the next level of negotiation with this prominent Fortune 500 company, we require sponsorship from you - our friends, colleagues and fellow film enthusiasts. Any additional monies raised will go into the movie production and backstory. A percentage of the proceeds from the film will be directed to Play with Grace theater arts program and other organizations whose mission aligns with our own.

We'd be grateful if you would share this campaign with folks in your world. It could make a big difference.












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Update 28
Posted by Dianne Pacl
2 days ago
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I was speaking with Jarrod last week and mentioned that it seems every time we talk with great enthusiasm to someone about the Aaron's Light movie project, we meet people whose lives are touched by autism. He agreed that it seemed that way and it made him happy. Two days after this conversation I met a lovely older man at the gym who has an adult son with autism. As we cycled away (he faster than me), he told me all about him. I was so pleased to listen, and touched by the depth of his love and commitment. Then I get Jarrod a breakfast at Dunkin Donuts drive-through. The woman in the window noticed the Aaron's Light sign on the car and started to tell me all about her young twin sons with autism (until she got scolded). We stopped into a new neighborhood deli on the way to our office to introduce ourselves. We met the owner, a very nice man who has a daughter in college studying to be a special needs teacher. He is certain she'd be thrilled to meet us and maybe even volunteer with Jarrod. So Jarrod happily gave him his business card. Finally, I get home after what I considered a really, really nice day. And I get an email from my sister telling me that my nephew Tommy (with autism) is going to be in a movie! I'm so excited to attend. I'm even more excited to know that people are talking, sharing, taking an interest. (And if you are interested, please see movie info below.)

Short Logline: A young man with an extremely rare neurological disorder finds solace at Walden Pond.

Synopsis: Tommy is a young man with Landau–Kleffner syndrome, an extremely rare neurological disorder with only 100 cases diagnosed every ten years. LKS is characterized by frequent seizures and sudden aphasia (the inability to understand or express language). Over the past five years, Tommy’s caretaker, Erin, has developed a way to communicate with him using words and phrases from his favorite Disney films. Tommy and Erin take their weekly walk on Walden Pond to reflect and get away from the world.
Somerville Theatre - Screen 3
Fri, Apr 28 9:15 PM
Somerville Theatre - Screen 4
Sat, Apr 29 6:45 PM and 9:15PM
Shorts B = Bravo: Documentary

Includes: JUANA; THE MEMORIES STATION; NOTHING COMPARES; PIZZA BIRDY BATH WATERFALL; RICH MAN DAN; THE WORLD'S OLDEST MIME: A LIFE IN THREE ACTS

Tommy and Erin at Walden Pond
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Update 27
Posted by Dianne Pacl
1 month ago
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I've been thinking about Aaron's mom, Shirley, lately. She is a great character (one who we dearly hope will be played by Annette Bening). She is quirky and compulsive yet is not aware that she is either. She is deeply committed to those things she believes in. And her son's success is among those things. She knows he has an autism diagnosis and yet is reluctant to believe in the limits that that label often instills. I love this character because she'll do anything in her power to see her son make an independent and joyful life for himself. And in the case of Aaron, and many with autism, we having a limited understanding of just how far that is. My dear friend Jarrod (as you might remember, the inspiration of the "Aaron's Light" project) is delighted to be a "guinea pig" in new strategies and treatments to give him peace and some level of self-confidence. So we're having acupuncture weekly now and it is the only hour during the week where he is lying back in a reclining chair, thoroughly relaxed -- mind and body. I think it's helping him. Not dramatically but enough so that we shall continue. He asked if he could drink the "smoothies" I've been drinking for health reasons (and it's been working...one month of feeling great so far). I asked him whether he'd want the ingredients to be specific -ally anti-anxiety. He said yes. So I referred to the book I recently acquired "The anti-anxiety food solution" by Trudy Scott. It has a lot of nutritional do's and don'ts but also has herbs and veggies that supposedly help with anxiety. Since anxiety has always interfered in a pretty big way in Jarrod's life, I'm happy to try new ways to reduce it-- in addition to his meds. (Don't worry, we do this with approval from his clinician.) So, I think of Shirley because she will try anything to help Aaron to be happy. Some of her beliefs I cannot relate to but I can relate to wanting to uncover things that give Jarrod access to joy and peace. Thankfully, at this point in his life, he has quite a list, and I'll wager that we'll never stop adding to it. I'm optimistic, and these days, he is sometimes as well.
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Update 26
Posted by Dianne Pacl
3 months ago
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Hello loved ones. I had a great day today. I was very productive and enjoyed every one of my tasks. Early afternoon I decided to take a break and walk the dogs. We went to a spot that is new (a cemetery -- for some reason Karsci, Bix and I love them). I didn't intend to walk for very long and figured the pups would get their exercise chasing squirrels and such (don't worry, they never catch them). I met a young man there. He was walking his dog (a very cute older mutt), and seemed to be interested in company, so re-routed and sought me out. Now, I'm ashamed to say I didn't much feel like chatting with anyone, but was inspired by his enthusiasm. He immediately started talking about his life and in a short while I came to the conclusion he likely had Asperger's Syndrome (and didn't know it). He ended up talking about how hard it was to relate to people and how grateful he was for his dog. I told him that most "dog people" feel that same gratitude for their dogs, who love them no matter what. He seemed surprised. It became clear to me that much of his communication to others missed its mark, and he was lonely. I wasn't feeling particularly insightful, so just let him talk. And he did. I did share with him that everyone feels like they are not connecting from time to time...that I believe that's "normal." He seemed both surprised and reassured. When I learned he loved music, I told him about our Play with Grace theater arts program (where he would surely find community) and he said he'd look into it. I also told him about the "Aaron's Light" movie and he said "I feel sorry for Aaron even though I do realize he's fictional." I told him that we think Aaron represents a great many people who have at one time or another felt "on the periphery" of life. I also shared that I was among them during my high school years. He was shocked for some reason. And very obviously reassured.
I feel like the Universe sometimes sends us in a direction for a reason that is not immediately evident. I am glad that I am getting better at paying attention to these "messages," because I learned some things today; and I think this man (yikes...I forget his name) learned some things too. More important than anything...we both recognized that to be human and sharing this earth gives us a great deal in common. I hope that we meet again though we made no promises to do so. That's fine. It renewed my faith in our "Aaron's Light" film and reminded me that there are a great many people who will find hope through sharing Aaron's journey.
I look forward to more unexpected connections just like this. As you well know by now, we thank you for caring enough to read this. and so much for the support!
Interesting spot for Karsci, Bix, Dianne
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Update 25
Posted by Dianne Pacl
4 months ago
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As many of you know, my life has been enriched by people with autism (and other disabilities too!). One such person is my nephew Tommy. My sister and brother-in-law had a wonderful family holiday party over the weekend and Tommy was home, awaiting the presents he looks forward to receiving all year. He loves Peanuts (as do I) so I got him a Peanuts sculpture calendar in which you put two blocks in for the date, and one block in for the month. Just after he left the party to go to bed I joined him in his room. I showed him his gift and he seemed both attentive and pleased. I asked him if he knew the date and month. He did not, so I told him. Then he proceeded to put the blocks into the sculpture exactly as he was supposed to. I was impressed and told him so. I also told him I loved him and hoped he had a very merry Christmas. He responded with "Merry Christmas" and he hugged me tight, then laying flat palms on my back, said "OK...you can go now." And I did. Now you might think I'd have been offended. But truly, I was not. What I have seen from a good many friends and relatives with special needs, is can be difficult to assert their wants and needs. Tommy was able to be grateful and gracious, but also let me know he did not particularly want a lengthy visit at bedtime. That's a very important thing to be able to do. I think this next year for him is going to be filled with transformation and joy. And if I continue to watch the clear and earnest communication of those I know "with special needs," it will be a joyous year for me too! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday, and please know that your support of "Aaron's Light" means a great deal to all of us (and some people we don't yet know!). This movie will be made, and we will enjoy every second of the journey until it is. Blessings to all...and to all a good night!
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Read a Previous Update
Robert Drenzek
9 months ago

Hello and well wishes to Sunshine,Val , Kim and especially Karchie(sp?)

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$4,050 of $15k goal

Raised by 58 people in 13 months
Created March 11, 2016
$5
Anonymous
1 day ago
$100
Anonymous
1 month ago
$5
Anonymous
1 month ago
$5
Robert Drenzek
3 months ago

Every little bit helps

$10
Anonymous
4 months ago
$5
Anonymous
4 months ago
$5
Anonymous
5 months ago
$45
Anonymous
5 months ago
$25
Angela Sanscrainte
7 months ago

Can't wait to see the final production!

DS
$25
Debra Solomon
7 months ago
Robert Drenzek
9 months ago

Hello and well wishes to Sunshine,Val , Kim and especially Karchie(sp?)

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