Experience a film like no other with ‘Sanctuary Dream’
There have been scores of movies that feature some depiction of autism, from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to Rain Man to The Accountant. Many of them have become classics, and rightfully so, but they all feature one big gap in knowledge. None of them depict autism from the perspective of someone who has it.
A new independent feature film aims to finally fill the void when it comes to on-screen depictions of autism. Sanctuary Dream uses a unique blend of cinematic techniques to give its audience the experience of autism first hand. The film is written & directed by Grant Carsten, who wanted to find the perfect way to share his experience of autism with a filmgoing audience.
Sanctuary Dream is a film unlike any other you’ve seen before. It’s the first project that really aims to give the audience an insider-out perspective on life with autism, and it will be remembered for its wildly inventive technique. Come take a peek at the film and the creative mind behind it.
Meet Faisal Ost
The protagonist of Sanctuary Dream is Faisal Ost (Traven Thomas). He may appear to be just an ordinary teenager living with his parents and brother, but Faisal experiences the world around him in a way that no one else does. The film uses cinematography, color-grading, and acting techniques to simulate Faisal’s experience of the world for the audience, giving everything a unique perspective that film hasn’t seen before.
Sanctuary Dream doesn’t shy away from the genuinely dark struggles some people with autism experience. Faisal faces homelessness, violence, and a seemingly endless quest for a peaceful home throughout the film. The film is an honest depiction of Faisal’s experience that puts the audience right at the heart of every one of its memorable conflicts.
Writing and directing
Grant Carsten has been working in film for years, and Sanctuary Dream represents his feature-length debut as a writer and director. Previously, Carsten has worked on professional, semi-professional, and amateur productions. He’s worked behind the camera, but he’s also a talented musician who has composed soundtracks for several shorts, a feature film, and a video game.
Stunningly, Carsten’s first feature has broken even on the money it took to produce the film, a feat that not many first-time filmmakers can accomplish. Though Carsten already has years of experience in the industry, Sanctuary Dream is sure to be a memorable debut that launches his career into many other projects. Carsten is currently working as an editor on another feature directed by one of his friends.
Sanctuary Dream hit the festival circuit in June 2021, and it’s been garnering plenty of attention as it makes its way around the world. This is a film that stands out for its unique approach to capturing the interiority of its main character and its refusal to compromise on a realistic depiction of autism. Sanctuary Dream should be at the top of your must-watch list. It will live a lingering impact on you in a way few films ever do.