Autism Community Film
Synopsis: ‘A young autistic boy named Sam, with a passion for Western films, must decide whether to stand down or stay his ground when a showdown for the soul of his village takes place in the local corner shop.’
Directed by Kristian Kane & Lewis Carter
Written By Lewis Carter
Produced by Fine Rolling Media
Executive Producer: Richard Mylan
‘Showdown’ is a short community film designed to raise awareness for autism through the use of its neurodiverse cast.
I first conceived of the idea for ‘Showdown’ when imagining what the classic western movie would look like if it was set in modern-day Wales. I set out to imagine what the stoic gunslinger protagonist, made famous by the likes of Clint Eastwood and John Wayne would look like if they were forced to settle their scores in the South Wales valleys as opposed to the western frontier. Nobody was more surprised than I when the image I came up with was not that of a middle-aged, rugged man with stubble — but of an 11-year-old autistic boy.
As soon as I knew we’d be making a Western, I knew I wanted to shoot in Bedlinog — a small village nestled in the Taff Bargoed Valley that had been the setting for large chunks of my childhood.
My grandparents spent their married lives in Bedlinog, and my father was born there. When he was younger he found a newspaper article calling Bedlinog a ‘wild west village’. It was meant as an insult, but I thought it captured the essence of one of my favourite places perfectly. In my version of a Western, Bedlinog was going to replace the traditional dust-bowl community in need of saving.
Once the script was complete, we had the task of casting our young autistic protagonist. A task that many people told us would be impossible.
Enter Charlie Lock — a 10-year-old autistic actor from Quakers Yard, a village just a stone’s throw away from Bedlinog! We couldn’t believe how perfect Charlie was for the principal role of ‘Sam’. Not only did he inject his own experiences of autism into the role, but Charlie blew us away with his ability to take direction and exude charisma on screen at such a young age. His portrayal of a misunderstood autistic kid, who’s love of Western movies gets him into hot water is; genuine, sincere, playful, and moving. This is an incredibly brave performance from a young man who has a long career ahead of him.
This community film was kindly funded by our associates, Nautilus. Not only did they love the story we wanted to tell, but they jumped at the chance to be a part of this community endeavor to raise awareness for autism.
‘Showdown’ premiered at a sold-out, autism-friendly screening at Cinema & Co on the 24th of May.
TEASER & INTERVIEW WITH CHARLIE LOCK:
REVIEWS AND ARTICLES: