Matthew Fuller's debut film, Autism in Love is premiering at Tribeca Film Festival this month.
Q: What inspired you to film Autism in Love?
I'd been working with Dr. Heilveil for a few years and he wanted to do some research about autism in love, but there was no information we could find, so we explored it through the documentary. Matt and I didn't know anything about autism and it was a great opportunity to explore the human condition.
On the surface, we're storytellers, so exploring the human condition was very important. It seemed a lot of people think that someone who has the disorder can't have love, so it was perfect to explore.
Q: Was there a particular event or time in your life where you realized film-making was more than just a hobby?
I was a sophomore in high school and hated writing book reports, so any time we'd have to present, I'd just remake the book into a film with my classmates.
I was always in front of the camera. I acted and took theatre in high school. I moved to LA to explore acting. I became interested in the workings behind the camera. I felt that being in control was more important to me as well as being a part of the storytelling.
Q: What makes a film great for you?
I prefer to have a film that makes me laugh, cry, learn something and grow. The audience should feel different coming out of a movie. The film should give them a different view on an otherwise unknown subject.
Storytelling gives you the opportunity to transport yourself and get close to someone else's experiences without going through what they are yourself. So, I love films that give me an opportunity to experience something I otherwise wouldn't.
Q: What films have been the most inspiring to you?
Little Miss Sunshine really struck a chord with me. I would have loved to have been a part of that film.
On the non-fiction side of things, Errol Morris's First Person was it for me. He really knew how to put you in the shoes of the people he'd have conversations with.
Q: If there was something you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?
The industry is becoming more polarized lately. There are fewer films that are more broadly appealing. It's become breadth as opposed to depth. Anyone can make a film which is not necessarily a good thing, but at the same time, it's great for directors who have a story to tell. I think empowering filmmakers to tell stories and put distinguishable efforts in is imperative.
Breathtaking work needs to happen more often. The 70's and 80's saw great films with Spielberg. Money needs to be spent on good filmmakers. The industry needs more balance and more support should be given to independent film-making.
Q: Do you think filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Are there things they have a responsibility to portray or things they should not do?
With great power comes great responsibility. It would be irresponsible for a filmmaker not to offer empowering and thought-provoking conversations. Our responsibility with this project was to be honest and accurate with our information.
Make sure to check out this clip from the film:
To learn more about the film, please visit the website autisminlove.com.