The Kennedale/Oscars Connection

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Kennedale does have its own personal connection to this year?s Oscar Award?s ceremony through KHS 2008 graduate, Marissa Ericson. A connection that has wound through Kennedale, Colorado College, UTA, Emerson College and finally New York City and Motto Pictures. {{more:Read more …}}
The Oscar nominee is the film, Life, Animated in the Best Documentary Feature.
Life, Animated is the story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn?t speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood. The family was forced to become animated characters, communicating with him in Disney dialogue and song. Until they all emerge, together, revealing how, in darkness, we all literally need stories to survive.
Her role …

For the documentary film, Life,

Animated , Ericson was a production assistant. As a production assistant, she assisted the film team with various aspects surrounding the making of the film. Responsibilities included setting up logistics for filming shoots, booking travel, assisting on film shoots, conducting research, assisting the film subjects and crew with any needs, and reviewing rough cuts of the film.

Background ?
After graduating from Kennedale in 2008, Ericson spent a year at Colorado College and a year at the University of Texas at Arlington before transferring to Emerson College in Boston, MA, where she finished her bachelor’s degree. She majored in Writing, Literature & Publishing, with a minor in Photography. Ericson then moved to New York City 4 ? years ago after college in hopes of pursuing a career in media with a focus on social issues.

After a year and a half, Ericson started working as an intern for the documentary production company, Motto

Pictures, where she worked with four other team members: Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn, and Sean Lyness. She said, ?They are my mentors and inspirations.?

Ericson, in the past 3 1/2 years, has worked her way up from intern, to production assistant, to production coordinator, to her current position, associate producer.
About the project ?
In an email to the Kennedale News, she said that the film meant so much to her. The following is told in her own words.
?First of all, it is the first feature documentary I have worked on from start to finish. Film-making is a very collaborative and intimate process, and the team and film subjects behind this film are all extraordinary people. It takes a lot of work to make a film, but the craft and enthusiasm of our team, guided by Director Roger Ross Williams’ vision, is evident.’
“The film is told through a mix of v?rit? scenes, interviews, animation, original music and Disney Clips, which I feel crafts the film into a beautiful visual narrative of Owen’s journey. My motivation to work in documentary production stems from wanting to tell human stories through a visual platform, and the Suskind family’s story is exactly this — they are original, genuine, and inspiring.”
“I often think about the struggles that Owen and his family went through once Owen was diagnosed with Autism — they did not know the outcome, they did not know if Owen would be able to become an independent man who could navigate our world on his own. However, through their family’s persistence, vision, love, and care, they not only helped Owen to grown into his own independence, but they have been able to connect to his world, to understand his perspective.?
?Since the finishing of the film, we have heard from numerous people who are in similar circumstances. They have shared how the film has further helped them understand their own loved ones. That is my hope for this film — that it will show and inspire people to try to connect with others who may seem different at first — they too have gifts that are unique and beautiful.?
Not there physically but in spirit …

She that she would not be attending the awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26th, as there are limited numbers of seats but that she would be in Los Angeles that night to support the team. She called the nomination of Life, Animated for Best Documentary Feature, ?an honor and a gift — I believe the nomination will allow many more audiences to know the Suskind’s story.? She said that she would be at the ceremony in spirit.

Shout-out to family and teachers ?
?My life after graduating from Kennedale High School has been filled with adventure, and I would not have had the courage to seek those opportunities without the support of my family and friends. A special shout out to my family: Mom, Josie Torres Drewett; Dad, Scott Ericson; Sister, Daniella Ericson; Stepdad, Jeff Drewett; Stepmom, Debbie Ericson; Uncle and Aunt, Vicky and Alfredo Parra; Cousins Fred Parra and Albert Parra and their families; my stepbrother & stepsisters, and the past and present Kennedale High School teachers who also inspired me to work hard and believe in dreams: Mr. Doug Parker, Mrs. Sherry Wade, Mrs. Julie Naughton, Mrs. Jennifer Cook, Coach Kim Padgett, Coach Amie Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Wendy Thacker, Mrs. Elisabeth Brooke, Mrs. Adrienne Janek, Ms. Milena Balthrop, and many others from the KISD team.

I would absolutely love for my Kennedale family to see this film! It’s available on Amazon (Video & DVD), iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play, and more. And check out the Motto

Pictures website, which has the list of all the films our production company has produced and ways to see them.?

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