The movie used Deej Savarese’s own words and poetry to tell his story, with documentary footage throughout and animation included for the poems. Deej’s educational journey started in Alachua County at J.J. Finley Elementary, and he was adopted by his parents after suffering abandonment by his birth mother and abuse in foster care. His mother, Emily, was an assistant director of CARD.
The film depicts Deej’s mission of inclusion for his “people,” as he phrases it — nonverbal autists. He achieves his dream of going to Oberlin College, a place with a long history of inclusion for marginalized groups, and living in the dorms. Deej graduated summa cum laude this past May and will continue to write.
Something special for our screening in the Reitz Union: Deej and his mother came for a Q&A. Deej’s friends and supporters in Gainesville were there, too!