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Darien Producer Tackles Complex Topic Of Autism And Love In New Film

Darien's Will Sullivan, a graduate of King in Stamford, is producing a new film about an autistic girl seeking her first boyfriend. Photo Credit: Contributed
"Jane Wants A Boyfriend" is the title of a new film that is being produced by Will Sullivan of Darien. Photo Credit: Contributed

DARIEN, Conn. – In just his second film, young producer Will Sullivan of Darien is tackling a complex and sensitive topic. He is as anxious as anyone to see the final result.

Sullivan’s film, “Jane Wants A Boyfriend,” tells the story of an autistic girl as she enlists the support of her sister to find a boyfriend. Sullivan, who attended King School in Stamford, said the film is based in part on real-life events that occurred while he attended New York University. The script is a collaborative effort with Jarret Kerr.

“A really good friend told us this story, and for me, it’s very much a film about courage and the fact that this girl has chosen to speak up,’’ Sullivan said. “People around her were telling her she’s not worthy of love. We all need to have the courage to speak up. Whether it’s coming out of the closet, or a developmental disorder, or something else, we all need courage. It goes beyond autism.”

Sullivan met the young woman who inspired the movie, and “she is very excited that we’re making it,’’ he said. He has also met with an autism organization to meet other real life “Janes.” “The most important thing is to handle the subject in a sensitive and delicate way,’’ Sullivan said. “We all have obstacles. In this script, it happens to be autism. We have a built in audience that we’re setting out to inspire.”

Sullivan’s interest in film and theater dates to his days at King. He was a double major at NYU in film and theater, and attended school for four straight years without a summer break. His path slowly transitioned from wanting to be on stage to working behind the camera. He graduated from King in 2006 and from NYU in 2010.

“Making films was a hybrid of loving theater and working with actors,’’ Sullivan said. “There’s something magical about theater, but frustrating. My diving into film making was an effort to preserve the work I was doing. I really wanted to direct actors that were putting forth these striking experiences, but I also wanted to have a record of it.”

Sullivan’s latest film will be shot in New York City and will be completed in time for many of the major film festivals. He has raised nearly 75 percent of the funding required for the film, and additional investors can find out how they can donate through an online page dedicated to the film.

It’s an important movie for Sullivan as he works the delicate balance between funding, finding worthwhile projects and meeting his bills.

“It’s something a lot of people who graduated from film school are dealing with,’’ he said. “I don’t want to make films just to make films. I wanted to be attracted to a script and make sure it’s ready to be on the screen. I know there’s an astronomically slim chance to make it in this business, but right now, I don’t see me doing anything else."

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