Life, Animated tells the remarkable story of how Owen Suskind, a boy diagnosed with Autism, found in Disney animation a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world.


Filmmaker: Roger Ross Williams
Year: 2016
Runtime: 91 mins
Country: USA
Format: HD


Life, Animated tells the remarkable story of how Owen found in Disney animation a pathway to language and a framework for making sense of the world. By evocatively interweaving classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life, the film explores how identification and empathy with characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel forge a conduit for him to understand his feelings and interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations further give form to Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity in a tribe of sidekicks. With an arsenal of narratives at his disposal, Owen rises to meet the challenges of adulthood in this moving coming-of-age tale.


"If you believe in magic, Life, Animated is the potion for you" - The Hollywood Reporter

"A must-watch" ★★★★★ - The Guardian

"The best Disney movie that Disney didn't make" - IndieWire

"A captivating portrait" - Variety

"Inspiring and life-affirming" ★★★★ - Heat

"A new kind of screen hero emerges" - LA Times


Roger Ross Williams is the director of God Loves Uganda, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim, and Music by Prudence, which won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). His latest film, Life, Animated, is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize‒winning journalist Ron Suskind. Williams was the first African American to win an Academy Award for directing or producing a film (short or feature).


Director: Roger Ross Williams

Screenwriter: Roger Ross Williams and David Teague

Executive Producer: Molly Thompson, Robert DeBitetto, Robert Sharenow and Ron Suskind

Producer: Julie Goldman

Cinematographer: Tom Bergmann

Editor: David Teague

Composer: Dylan Stark and T. Griffin

Co-Producer: Carolyn Hepburn and Christopher Clements

Animation: Mac Guff

Principal cast: Owen Suskind, Ron Suskind, Cornelia Suskind and Walter Suskind



Academy Award - Feature Documentary Nominee

Best Documentary - News & Documentary Emmys 2018

Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary - News & Documentary Emmys 2018

Sundance Film Festival 2016 - Directing Award, U.S. Documentary

Annie Awards - Special Achievement Award

Full Frame Documentary Festival - Feature Audience Award

San Francisco International Film Festival - Audience Award

DocVille - Jury Prize for Best International Documentary

DocVille - Audience Award

Nantucket Film Festival - Audience Award

Berkshire International Film Festival - Audience Award

Telluride Mountainfilm 2016 - Audience Award


Sundance Film Festival 2016

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2016

Tribeca Film Festival 2016

True/False Film Fest 2016

Sundance Film Festival: London 2016

Sydney Film Festival 2016

Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2016

DocAviv Film Festival 2016

IDFA Film Festival 2016

DOC NYC 2016

Festival do Rio 2016

Ambulante Colombia 2016

DokuFest 2016

Melbourne International Film Festival 2016

New Zealand International Film Festival 2016

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2016

Docville 2016