Buddy Up This Saturday for Touching Documentary on Autism Assistance Dogs
The Buddy System, an uplifting documentary made by the Wilton-based, award-winning filmmaking team of Megan Smith-Harris and Bill Harris, will screen this Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wilton Library as part of the New Perspectives Documentary Series.
The documentary tells the intimate stories of three families touched by autism, who experience meaningful change when a specially trained assistance dog comes into each of their lives. The film also showcases Patty Dobbs Gross, a pioneer in the field of breeding and training autism assistance dogs, as well as her adult son, Dan Gross, who was one of the first recipients of an autism service dog in the world. Both Patty and Dan, along with Golden Retriever Angel, an autism assistance dog-in-training, and other members of the creative team, will be present for a post-screening discussion led by Smith-Harris.
The film is the result of a three-year effort largely funded by Wiltonians and others from around Fairfield County.
“Having screened the film for audiences at festivals and conference around the country, we’re so excited to finally share The Buddy System with everyone here in Wilton,” says Smith-Harris. “Dogs like Buddy allow children to develop essential social skills, heighten emotional empathy, and help to level the playing field so these kids finally feel like they belong.”
Wendy Eidson, director of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, says, “This touching film was a hit at our festival! Megan Smith-Harris has done a superb job documenting the transformation of shy 7-year old David as Buddy helps him gain confidence and trust.”
The Buddy System was also won Best Film in the Short Film Category at AutFest 2017 in Orange, CA.
The film is 58 minutes long, and is appropriate for audiences 10 and above. The suggested donation to attend the screening and discussion is $5. Refreshments will be served.
Registration is highly recommended. To register, visit the Wilton Library website or call 203.762.6334.