Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) April 08, 2013 -- April is Autism Awareness Month, and April 26-27, 2013 will mark the First Autism Awareness Week in Santa Monica at the city's Miles Memorial Playhouse.
This special event will feature the premiere preview screening of the documentary "BEAUTIFUL" which follows the journey of a group of young adults, with and without autism, discovering what it makes and what it takes to be beautiful. Filming will take place in Santa Monica and Claremont through a series of workshops provided by DIU in collaboration with Westside School of Ballet, and Empower Autism Now.
On the evening of Friday, April 26th, following the premiere screening, the cast of "BEAUTIFUL" will take the stage to be recognized and presented with special gifts made by 13.5-year old Jeremy Bernstein, jewelry maker and recipient of the 2011 ANCA Naturally Autistic People Award. On Saturday, April 27th Westside School of Ballet through the generosity of its Artistic Director Martine Harley, will donate a performance as a gift to special needs youth and their families. Westside Ballet is also donating studio space for filming, and providing guest teachers and volunteers for the documentary's workshops.
"BEAUTIFUL" is produced by the non-profit Dance Into Unity, Inc. (DIU), d.b.a. Autism Spectrum Integrative Services (ASIS) in collaboration with talented young filmmakers who are also autism activists.
Cast selection for the documentary is based on DIU's unique "Match A Friend" approach working with both autistic and non-autistic youth and young adults, establishing connections based on mutual interests and empowering such connections through social and creative tools such as the performing arts.
16-year old cast member of "BEAUTIFUL", Valerie Velyka stated: "I strongly believe in this project and am glad to be a part of it. Everybody must know about autism". Valerie is an avid student at Beverly Hills High School who takes a serious interest in community matters.
"BEAUTIFUL" is scheduled for screening at the 8th Annual Santa Monica Teen Film Festival on June 1, 2013 at the Miles Playhouse.
Dance Into Unity was founded in 2006 to raise autism awareness through the arts. Between 2006-2008 DIU produced several Broadway-cast dance productions for this cause, attracting over 6,000 people. A more recent project is the 2012 documentary "Through the Heart of Tango" (TTHOT) about the journey of 8 young adults with and without autism, learning the art of connection, which was captured in a documentary by Joey Travolta's Inclusion Films.
"This documentary is part of our mission to raise autism awareness and address a solution to an issue of epic proportions through integration and utilizing the arts. With a team of young autism activists and utilizing the entertainment media platform we plan to distribute this film to public schools nationwide. Our target is to make it available in October 2013, which is 'National Bullying Prevention Month,' " said Lana David, Co-Founder of Dance Into Unity.
"BEAUTIFUL" is part of a campaign by Dance Into Unity for the autism community integration project PRE (Paradise Ranch Estates). PRE is to be designed by award-winning designer and builder, Steve Berman (www.paradiseranchestates.com).
For more information about DIU and "BEAUTIFUL", please visit http://www.danceintounity.org, or call 310-717-6336.