The Resource Center and Filling the Gap, Inc., will pair two of their popular events when the Sprout Film Festival and Step Up for Autism take place Wednesday, September 27.
The combined events will be held at The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts on Third Street in Jamestown. An autism awareness walk will begin at 5:30. Walkers will proceed west for about three blocks to the CHQ Plus store, then return to The Reg. The walk is free, and everyone is invited to take part to show support for people on the autism spectrum.
The theaters doors open at 6:00 for the Sprout Film Festival, with the movies scheduled to start at 7:00. The festival features 10 short films that celebrate the diverse lives and creativity of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The films seek to challenge assumptions and break down stereotypes about people with disabling conditions.
Sprout is a traveling film festival, and each host community selects the films that will be screened locally. This is the seventh time The Resource Center has brought the Sprout Film Festival to Chautauqua County. Most of this year’s films feature individuals who are on the spectrum. People can view the festival’s trailer at www.resourcecenter.org/sprout to get a feel for some of the films.
Admission to the film festival is free thanks to a grant from Filling the Gap, which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.
This will be the 14th annual Step Up for Autism celebration, which is organized by Filling the Gap. Two staples of past Step Up for Autism events will be incorporated into the film festival. Patrons will have an opportunity to try to win donated prize baskets, as well as bid on items in a sweets auction. The auction features cakes, pies and other treats donated by local establishments.
Officials from The Resource Center and Filling the Gap are looking forward to presenting the Sprout Film Festival and Step Up for Autism on the same evening.
“I am excited to have these two great events become one,” said The Resource Center’s Kevin Anderson, one of the film festival’s lead organizers. “Sprout has always been a wonderful evening where the greater Jamestown community comes together to enjoy entertaining and enlightening films. With the addition of Step Up for Autism, we are providing the opportunity for people to mingle before the films and help raise funds for important programs that support individuals on the spectrum.”
“Bringing these two favorite events together gives us one action-packed event,” said Victoria Bardo, development and event manager for Filling the Gap. “Please join us in front of The Reg at 5:30 for our walk along Third Street, enjoy the movies and don’t forget to participate in our raffles and spirited sweets auction. This is a beautiful venue, so why not bring along your family and friends? You will come out of this event with the best feeling and a new perspective on the cherished lives of persons with different abilities.”
Sponsors of this year’s Step Up for Autism include Brown & Brown Insurance, Lake Shore Savings and UPMC Chautauqua. Money raised through Step Up for Autism will stay in Chautauqua County to support people on the autism spectrum and others with developmental disabilities.
“We would like to send a shout out to all of our sponsors for their continued support in making a difference in our community,” Bardo added.
For more information about the Sprout Film Festival, phone Anderson at 716-483-2344. For questions about Step Up for Autism, phone Bardo at 716-661-1477.
People wishing to make a donation in support of the Step Up for Autism walk, or to help bring Sprout to our community again next year, may do so by visiting https://fillingthegap.net/donate. People also can mail a check to Filling the Gap, 92 Fairmount Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701; make the check payable to Filling the Gap and write either “Sprout” or “Step Up for Autism” on the memo line.