H.O.M.E., the film
“With H.O.M.E., we are not only putting a face, but also lending a voice, to people who are easily overlooked by today’s society.”
H.O.M.E. is not about Aspergers, per se. Rather, it presents three character-driven New York stories about individuals dealing with urban alienation and being lost, both physically and spiritually. Each of the segments is based on a true story. “Because Asperger’s Syndrome hinders the ability to develop effective communication and socialization skills, people with Asperger’s can easily find themselves withdrawing from society, forced into anonymity,” notes Ingrid. The film aims to help change that.
Ingrid initially became interested in autism after producer Daniel Maldonado pointed out a story in the New York Times about a teenager with Asperger’s. Soon after he read the article, Daniel befriended a young man with autism and his family, and grew to learn more about the impact of ASD both on individuals on the spectrum and those who care for them.
Teaming up with Daniel in this project is a natural match for Ingrid, who is vice president of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) NY Chapter and a member of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). Daniel, the 2009 recipient of the Best Short Film Award from HBO/NY International Latino Film Festival, is known for exploring identity in his works. His company, Gashouse Films, is committed to producing films that help “make the invisible visible.”
“I found through making the film how important an issue independence and autonomy are for the Aspergian/autistic adult … How they share many of the same desires as other young adults, yet are placed in greater conflict.”
Playing the lead in Part I of H.O.M.E. is Jeremy Ray Valdez, who has been featured on numerous primetime television shows, including appearances in two Emmy Award-winning episodes of “24.” Among his film credits, Jeremy starred opposite Benjamin Bratt in La Mission (AKA Mission Street Rhapsody), taking the 2010 Imagen Award for Best Actor. Jeremy had a sister with autism who passed away.
It’s refreshing and encouraging to know that people like Ingrid and Daniel are out there shaking up the world, giving people a perspective on issues they might not otherwise consider. It’s also worth noting that neither producer has an immediate connection to autism/Asperger’s; there is no agenda with this film other than to encourage the realization that all people need human connection. Filming occurred in July on location in NYC; the second and third parts of H.O.M.E. will be shot in the fall and winter of 2011-12. The entire film will run the film festival circuit once post-production is completed in April 2012.