Behind the Scenes


BEHIND THE SCENES is the story of a group of teens who have autism spectrum

disorders and attend Autism Social Connection. Over the course of the film we explore what having autism is like for the teens and what it means to them. We also venture into the world of Autism Social Connection and take a behind the scenes look at the program and the filming process as the kids make their projects.


  1. Demonstrate the importance of socializing autistic children and teens as well as showing how organizations like Autism Social Connection can have a significant positive impact on kids and teens with autism.
  2. Inform children and teens with autism and their parents about the importance of socializing autistic children and teens and how that can be achieved by going to programs such as Autism Social Connection.
  3. Display group work as a tool for socialization skills and show how the students grow confidence in their everyday lives.
  4. Explain what autism is and how it impacts those who have it in their everyday lives.


Discussion Guide*

This guide is designed to help foster a discussion about the value of mindfulness toward friendships among teens with autism.


  • Autism, friendships, and the necessity of addressing the emotional and psychological needs of autistic teenagers.
  • The effects of building friendships among autistic teens.
  • Socialization and the use of filmmaking as a way of building friendships

    Discussion Questions

    • What in the film stood out to you and why?
    • Describe the ideas presented in the film pertaining to helping autistic children and teens.
    • Were did you connect most to the kids in the film? What did you find most compelling or surprising and why?
    • Did you have any prior knowledge of autism or Asperger's before watching the film?
    • How is socializing with other kids beneficial for autistic kids?
    • What role or purpose did filmmaking play for the kids?
    • How do the kids advocate for themselves and other kids/ teens with autism? What are some other programs or activities that you think could benefit autistic kids/ teens?
    • How can you advocate and raise awareness?


    Partner Organization

    Autism Social Connection

    The Autism Social Connection offers specialized social groups for children and adults on the autism spectrum who have an interest in video, drama, and art, while also developing social skills and friendships.

    Contact Info:
    Peninsula/South Bay (main office & mailing address):
    Wings Learning Center
    411 Middlefield Rd.
    Redwood City, Ca 94063

    San Francisco
    387 Golden Gate Ave.
    San Francisco, Ca 94102

    Phone: 650.564.4272



    • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
    • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
    • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
    • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
    • There is no medical detection or cure for autism
    • Autism is a bio-neurological developmental disability that generally appears before the age of 3.
    • Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities
    • 1 percent of the population of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.
    • 1 to 1.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder
    • Fastest-growing developmental disability; 1,148% growth rate



    Meet the filmmakers


      PAUL ATWATER (B.A. in Cinema 2013) began making documentaries in Shanghai in the summer of 2012, where he recorded sound and edited for One, a film about the one-child policy in China. In the fall of 2012 he worked on BEHIND THE SCENES and interned at the Bay Area Video Coalition, continuing to hone his skills in editing. A Technical and Professional Writing minor, Paul avoids passive voice whenever unnecessary, and wishes more filmmaker bios valued brevity.


      Originally from Boston, MA, ASHLEY BUA proudly credits Behind the Scenes as her first documentary. Prior to making this documentary her experience was mostly attributed to narrative films. This film was a passion project for Ashley, who has a family member with autism. Ashley graduated from San Francisco State University in 2012 and plans to move to Los Angeles to keep pursuing both narrative and documentary filmmaking.


      Raised in Salinas, CA, ANN MARIE DAVISEN has seen many inequalities faced in her hometown, and hopes to resolve small issues that will leave a big impact on people's lives. She graduated in Spring 2013 with a bachelors in Health Education and a minor in Holistic Health Studies. Ann Marie plans on becoming a Public Health Professional that focuses on Health Administration to help those in need of health care.


      JEFF DRAGOMANOVICH (B.A. in Cinema 2012) has a background in documentary film and sound production. He is a Bay Area native and with the completion of Behind the Scenes continues to add to his portfolio of two dozen narrative and documentary films, many that have screened around the world from San Francisco to Rio de Janeiro. Jeff disagrees with Paul's bio and doesn't mind using the passive voice when it is necessary. 


      *The information on these pages is provided by the student film makers and does not represent an endorsement or verification of statements from the Health Equity Institute