Grinnell College to Screen Award-Winning Film about Former Grinnell Resident

'Deej' will be shown on Feb. 15, followed by a Q&A with producer and star DJ Savarese

The award-winning documentary Deej will be screened at Grinnell College on Thursday, Feb. 15. The screening will be followed by a question and answer session with DJ Savarese, a producer and star of the movie.

The event is free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. in Harris Cinema.

Deej explores the life on a nonspeaking young man who dreams of autistic civil rights. Abandoned by his birth parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ Savarese found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes-paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking people with autism, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

In a first-of-its kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking person with autism, Robert Rooy and Savarese share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism. The film won the Disability Film Festival in 2017.

DJ is the son of Emily and Ralph Savarese, professor of English and chair of the English department at Grinnell College. DJ grew up in Grinnell and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College in 2017.

Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

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