The Spy Who Knew Me has been gathering recognition on the local and international film circuit, and on October 3rd, A.B.L.E.’s second feature film had its West Coast Premiere as part of the Awareness Festival in Los Angeles!
Now entering its 9th year, The Awareness Festival aims to promote change in the world on a socio-economic level. The festival ran from September 27th through October 7th and featured over 50 films from around the globe on a range of important topics including conservation, LGBTQIA+ rights, animal animal activism, and different abilities.
As part of the Festival, A.B.L.E. co-founder and Executive Artistic Director Katie Yohe participated in a panel about different abilities in film along with activist Jen Bricker and producer Ted Hornick, one of the producers for the documentary The Boys in the Boat (more on this later). The panel discussed the importance of “non-traditional casting” and how filmmakers can help wider audiences to see and accept individuals with disabilities.
A few of our cast members made the trip out to LA for our premiere. Claire, Colleen, and alumni Fletcher all enjoyed the chance to tour Hollywood and take in the sights. The trip was a special surprise early birthday present for both Claire and Fletcher!
Our Wednesday night screening was part of a block including the short documentaries The Boys in the Boat and School of Honk. Both feature groups of people working as teams and surpassing expectations. We made good friends with the team from The Boys in the Boat, which follows members of a rowing team with intellectual disabilities. The Awareness Festival was their world premiere and we’re excited to see where this movie goes next.
The audience, comprised of longtime A.B.L.E. fans and newcomers alike laughed, cheered, and, yes, cried, as Tabitha Link and her team fought to defeat E.C.H.O.. After the film, our cast and crew participated in a Q&A to greet our audience and share more about how the movie was written and produced.
Identity is the heart of The Spy Who Knew Me, and the chance for our actors to each share who they are, what they love, and what they can do with a wider audience is a true blessing for all involved. Visiting L.A. was an invaluable opportunity to connect us with the industry at large. Lawrence and Katie also met with Gail Williamson at Down Syndrome in Arts and Media to talk more about expanding professional opportunities for our ensemble. And we were especially honored that, on the last night of the festival, The Spy Who Knew Me received the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. This was a big trip…and there’s more big things to come!