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April at MoMI: Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with Marvels of Media, and more

April 3, 2023 

a white man in a sparkly purple suit stands at a podium on a large stage with a sign-language interpreter next to him while on the screen there are words that read Marvels of Media Awards
Astoria, NY, March 30th, 2023 - The Museum of the Moving Image. ©Thanassi Karageorgiou. Marvels of Media Kicks Awards Ceremony. Marvels of Media is an initiative dedicated to celebrating and honoring media-makers on the autism spectrum of all ages with a media awards ceremony, festival, and exhibition. Organized by Miranda Lee and Tiffany Joy Butler, the second annual Marvels of Media expands the Museum's accessibility efforts for autistic visitors through the creation of a sensory-friendly space and sensory kits, which are available throughout the exhibit. Marvels of Media strives to increase opportunities for and representation of autistic media-makers and all aspiring autistic media-makers. This year, awardee Carrie Hawks curated the Marvels of Media Exhibition, and former awardee Jackson Tucker-Meyer hosted the Awards Ceremony.

We started Autism Acceptance Month early with the Marvels of Media Awards ceremony on March 30, honoring media-makers on the autism spectrum. Twenty-one works were selected from this year’s open call, which received 200 submissions. Winners include Jorge R. Gutiérrez for his monumental animated work, the Netflix limited series Maya and the Three; filmmaker Devon Leaver for her experimental film Galoot; Chloe Hayden for her performances in the Netflix series Heartbreak High and her viral social media video “A Day in the Life of a Netflix Actor”; Steven Fraser for his animated short Coming Out Autistic; and more. The Museum will be recognizing the work of autistic media-makers throughout April with an exhibition and festival. See below for a complete listing of this year's Awardees and a schedule of events. See more photos from the Awards here.

The 2023 honorees of the Marvels of Media Awards are:

Marvels of Media Limited Series Award
Winner: Maya and the Three – Director Jorge R. Gutiérrez

Marvels of Media Series Award
Winner: Dead End: Paranormal Park – Creator Hamish Steele

Marvels of Media Performance in a Series Award
Winner: Actor Chloe Hayden (Heartbreak High)

Marvels of Media Animation Award
Winner: Coming Out Autistic – Animator Steven Fraser
Honorable Mention: Child of Témoin – Animator Cody Fordham

Marvels of Media Documentary Feature Award
Winner: Tape Over – Director Mary Rhymer

Marvels of Media Documentary Short Award
Winner: Hospice – Exceptional Minds with Animators Andrew Turney, Craig Hills, Dean Julien, Dylan Carbonell, Liam Brosnan, Sam Hardin, Shad Wilde, Stephen Storti, Veronica Dolcich
Honorable Mention: Listen – Creators Jordyn Zimmerman and Tania Melnyczuk
Honorable Mention: Inner Wound Real – Director Carrie Hawks

Marvels of Media Social Media Video Award
Winner: “A Day in the Life of a Netflix Actor” – Content creator and actor Chloe Hayden
Honorable Mention: "ASTROLOGY FOR DUMMIES" – Content creator Paige Layle

Marvels of Media Experimental Film Award
Winner: Galoot – Director Devon Leaver
Honorable Mention: FACE – Director Sophia Kyriacou

Marvels of Media Children’s Short Award
Winner: Mr. Copycat – Director Kieran Firth-Bernard

Marvels of Media Video Game Award
Winner: Ava – Creators Vanessa Castañeda Gill, Lucas Harrington Psy.D., Jessica Scott
Honorable Mention: Car Machine – Developer Shane McKaskle
Honorable Mention: Playground – Developer Marcus Ansley

Marvels of Media Student Narrative Short Award
Winner: Them – Director Samara Huckvale

Marvels of Media Student Animated Short Award
Winner: You Don’t Recognize the Faces on TV – Animator Daniel Oliver Lee
Honorable Mention: Soap Opera – Animator Cameron Carr

Marvels of Media Collaborative Innovation Award
Winner: Use Your Imagination – Spectrum Laboratory

See many of the works noted above in the Marvels of Media Exhibition, on view through April 30 or as part of the following screening programs:

All are free with RSVP! The Museum is also offering a sensory-friendly space and sensory kits for autistic visitors (inquire at the front desk).

Marvels of Media Films
Saturday, April 8, 3:00 p.m.
See works created by autistic media-makers who were honored at the 2023 awards, including heartwarming and thoughtful films and videos about grief. Featuring work by Spectrum Laboratory, Chloe Hayden, Mary Rhymer, Exceptional Minds, Samara Huckvale, Jordyn Zimmerman and Tania Melnyczuk, Carrie Hawks, Cody Fordham, and Alba Garcia and Julio Garay. Followed by discussion with filmmakers Samara Huckvale, Carrie Hawks, Cody Fordham, and Mary Rhymer. More info

Directors’ Roundtable (online event)
Monday, April 10, 8:00 p.m. EDT
A virtual panel discussion featuring award-winning autistic media-makers Jorge Gutíerrez, Jason Weissbrod of Spectrum Laboratory, and Jackson Tucker-Meyer. More info

Puppetry Workshop with WonderSpark Puppets
Saturday, April 22, 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Kids will build puppets using simple materials, learn about theater, and perform their own stories. Intended for autistic children (ages 7–11) and their families. More info

Animating Emotions: A Workshop with Steven Fraser
Saturday, April 29, 12:00 p.m.
Steven Fraser, Marvels of Media Awardee and animator of Coming Out Autistic and Prosopagnosia, will instruct participants on how to transform and animate objects with a mobile phone. More info

ReelAbilities x Marvels of Media Showcase
Saturday, April 29, 1:30 p.m. Screenings of Steven Fraser’s Coming Out Autistic and Atin Mehra’s Being Michelle. More info

Learn more about the Museum's Marvels of Media initiative here.