Event Details

Film | Sunday, Sep 24, 2017 | 4:00 PM | $7


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Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese (“Deej”) found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a tect-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean. In this first-of-its kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and DJ share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism. Deej, the result of this often difficult partnership, is a story told largely from the inside, by DJ —not by his parents or autism experts or even the camera. At its core, Deej reflects the level of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: “Nothing about us without us.”

An open discussion will follow this screening with:

DEEJ Director Robert Rooy, Sharon daVanport – Executive Director of the Autism Women’s Network, and 2 local non-speaking autism self advocates: Gordy Baylinson and Jack Allnut.


This screening will be General Admission and seating is first-come, first served. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Patron Services team by emailing, or calling 240-912-1058. See our full list of ticketing policies here.

Interested in taking a group to see the film? Groups of ten or more get a discount. Call Patron Services at 301.528.2260 or email to take advantage of this offer.

About the Director:

Robert Rooy (Producer, Director, Videographer, Editor) was as an assistant director on more than forty films, including Lonesome DoveHoneymoon in VegasMinority Report and The West Wing. He has also worked as an independent filmmaker in more than twenty countries creating media with and for international development, human rights and environmental organizations. He is the producer/director of To Our Credit, an in-depth PBS documentary series that explores microfinance as an anti-poverty strategy. He holds an MFA degree from Yale School of Drama, a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Calvin College, and a National MediaMaker Fellowship from the Bay Area Video Coalition.

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On Screen/In Person is a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts.


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