Last summer, we shared Diego Raf Diaz’s story, an autistic artist with a dream to create an animated film. His first attempt at fundraising wasn’t successful but Diego’s determination to make his film still burns bright! If we, as an autism community rally around him and support his efforts…we can make his dream come true.
Diego wants to use his talent as an animator to tell the real stories of autistic people. He’s calling it, “What Autism Really Is.” Diego was diagnosed with autism at an early age. He says that watching videos had a huge impact on him, especially Pinocchio and the Land Before Time. The characters were his friends. It was his love for these shows and his talent for drawing that turned his attention towards creating animations. Now he wants to use his creativity and passion to make a difference in the world for those with autism.
Diego has a very interesting approach to his animated film. He’s interviewing others on the spectrum, animating the interviews, and then showing the real people on screen with the animation. Very clever! Take a look at the preview he created for “What Autism Really Is” animated video and you’ll want to do whatever you can to help this young man succeed.
Where did you learn how to create animation?
I started learning about animation at the Squeaky Wheel Training Studio in Buffalo in 2009. There I learned how to make short animation projects with Adobe Flash. However, I got my true training from Villa Maria College. There, I graduated with a BFA in animation.
What kinds of animated videos do you make?
For now, it is just short stories and commercials. However, in the future I plan to create many animated television series and movies.
How does creating animations make you feel?
I suppose it makes me feel like I am creating life. After all, the very definition of animation is to “bring objects to life.” As for emotions, I often feel much pride.
What is “The Gift of Autism” project?
Its purpose is to raise autism awareness. It stars a young boy who goes around the world and talks to many people who have autism. By doing so, the boy learns that autism is actually a gift that can help people grow as friends and family.
The project sounds very exciting! What is happening with it now?
I am very excited to present an animated trailer to kick off my crowdfunding campaign in order to create the full animated film.
Why is this project so important to you?
First of all, this is my first professional animation project. This could help me find a good animation job in a professional animation studio. Besides, I know what it is like to have autism. It does my heart good to know that this project is helping with a good cause.
Why is it important for the autism community?
Not only will this project raise autism awareness, but it will also show the world what autism really is. Autism is not a disease. Rather, it is a gift that can help people grow as friends and family.
What can people do to help you make “The Gift of Autism” happen?
I would like people to please visit my Indiegogo campaign and donate so this project becomes a reality. I also invite them to help me share my project to tell the world “What Autism Really Is.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I have a message to those who are parents of autistic children. They should take their children’s condition as a sign. A sign that their child has some great talent. One day, their child will put that talent to good use, and do something very famous. This is exactly why I see autism not as a disease, but instead as a gift.
Please show your support for Diego by: