Ed Asner and AutFest honoree Ben Affleck
Ed Asner and AutFest honoree Ben Affleck (PRNewsfoto/The Autism Society)

Actor Ben Affleck, Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera were among the awardees honored for their filmmaking contributions to autism awareness at the 1st AutFest International Film Festival in Orange, California.

After a screening of his 2016 film The Accountant, in which he portrayed a forensic accountant on the autism spectrum, seven-time Emmy® winner and autism advocate Ed Asner presented Affleck with the AutFest Awareness Award.

Oscar-winning Pixar filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera were honored by Asner with the AutFest Vanguard Award after a screening of their film Inside Out.

Over nine feature films and six short films were presented during the two-day festival that included this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated and international films from China (Destiny) and Malaysia (Redha). Two of the shorts, Even in Death and The Adventures of Pelican Pete: A Bird is Born, were written and directed by filmmakers on the autism spectrum. Panelists included Po’s director John Asher and actor Julian Feder, as well as an autism sibling panel following the Life, Animated screening.

The 1st Annual AutFest International Film Festival winners include:

Best Film:
Po, directed by John Asher (U.S.A.)

Best Documentary:
Swim Team, directed by Lara Stolman (U.S.A.)

Best Short:
The Buddy System, directed by William Harris and Megan Smith-Harris (U.S.A.)

Best Performance
Julian Feder, Po (U.S.A.)

Audience Award:
The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor (U.S.A.)

Best Autistic Filmmaker:
Zac Davis, Even in Death (U.S.A.)

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