Life, Animated

Full Frame Audience Award Feature 2016


At the age of three, Owen Suskind stopped talking; he was later diagnosed with autism. Owen’s parents tried to converse with him for years without success, until the day his father picked up a toy puppet and spoke to him in the voice of one of Owen’s favorite Disney characters. Squawking like the parrot Iago from Aladdin, he asked, “What’s it like to be you?” Owen answered with a line from the film. Life, Animated revisits this pivotal time in Owen’s childhood, and the way the Suskinds turned his treasured Disney films into a language of love. Owen, now in his 20s, is forging ahead, moving into his own apartment, falling in love, and planning for his future. Original drawings based on Owen’s own writing and excerpts from animated classics like BambiPeter Pan, and Dumbo are woven through a series of interviews to underscore these trying periods and poignant moments. This film is a luminous testament to one family’s determination to communicate, and reveals the powerful ways in which even the most far away characters can capture our innermost feelings.  ST


Roger Ross Williams


Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman


David Teague


Tom Bergmann

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

91 minutes