(NEW YORK, NY – May 16, 2006) – Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, announced today that its new public service advertisements, produced in conjunction with the Ad Council, will be screened throughout the 11th annual Nantucket Film Festival, June 14-18. The PSA's will be shown prior each feature film shown at the festival.
The multi-year Autism Speaks/Ad Council PSA campaign, which launched last month, is aimed at the general public. It stresses that autism is more common than people think (1 in 166 children is now diagnosed with autism) and encourages families to learn the signs of autism and talk to their doctor if they suspect their child is not meeting developmental milestones. The campaign was created pro bono by advertising agency BBDO and is running across all media platforms, including print, broadcast and cable TV, radio and the internet.
“We're so grateful to the Nantucket Film Festival for providing this unique forum to increase awareness about the growing prevalence of autism, “said Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Parents need to be aware of the early warning signs of autism and talk to their doctor as soon as possible if they suspect a developmental delay. Early intervention is our best weapon against autism.”
"The Nantucket Film Festival is committed to this joint effort with Autism Speaks in bringing autism to the forefront of public awareness. We welcome the opportunity to support their heartfelt efforts," said Jill Burkhart, NFF Executive Director.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 166 children, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman and CEO, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) recently combined operations, bringing together two of the leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of autism, the nation's fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, visit www.autismspeaks.org
ABOUT NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL
The NFF was founded in 1996 to spotlight screenwriters, screenwriting and storytelling in today's cinema. The festival takes place over five days in June on the idyllic island of Nantucket, MA.
Now in its eleventh year, NFF has become a prestigious annual event within the international film industry. Screening over 50 feature-length and short films in all genres that highlight the art of storytelling, the NFF is significant attraction that draws over ten thousand attendees, screenwriters, producers, agents and development executives each year.
Screenwriting is further explored through panel discussions, a screenplay competition, an emerging screenwriter's mentorship with the Screenwriters Colony, an educational program for teens and community beach screenings. The Festival also hosts the popular evening of Late Night Storytelling (hosted by Peter Farrelly and Anne Meara and past stories told by Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Mos Def and Paul Rudd) in addition to screenplay staged readings.
Past staged readings have included the hilarious SHOWSTOPPER by Anthony Barille & Geoffrey Nauffts including the talents of Ben Stiller and Academy Award winner Marisa Tomei. Last year's reading, SPECTACLE, Part One of the Mark Rosen Chronicles by Stacy Weiss and Dan Chariton was directed by Ben Stiller and the cast included: Macaulay Culkin, Amy Sedaris, David Krumholtz, Lake Bell, Robert Sean Leonard, Ben Stiller and more. The coveted screenplay A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES by Steven Soderbergh and Scott Kramer was the centerpiece staged reading of NFF 2003 and featured Will Ferrell in the starring role with Alan Cumming, Mos Def, and Rosie Perez.
The NFF has been a showcase for some of the top independent films of the last decade. The festival was one of the first to find and platform such films as: The Full Monty, Next Stop Wonderland and Girlfight. NFF 2005 Featured the North American Premiere of Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers as the Opening Night Film.
For more information please visit our website at www.nantucketfilmfestival.org.