On Screen / In Person: DEEJ


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Date(s) - Wednesday, September 13th
6:15 pm - 10:00 pm

Millersville University's Ware Center


Experience documentary films on a whole new level.  After considerable popularity with local audiences and praise from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Ware Center proudly announces its second year as one of only a handful of sites selected to present this provocative series which tours new, award-winning independent films AND their filmmakers to American communities.   The evening begins with a panel discussion at 6:15 p.m.  The film screens at 7:00, and is followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker.

The first film in the series screens Wednesday, September 13, at the Ware Center.

The movie is captioned and audio-description provided.  ASL interpretation provided for the pre-screening panel & post-screening Q&A



  • Carolyn Bruey, Program Supervisor of IU 13’s Autism Solutions and School Psychologists
  • Sugey Cruz-Evert, President of the Tommy Foundation
  • Brad Minnig (- who will perform an original piano composition)
  • Dr. Thomas Neuville, Millersville University
  • Kelly O’Byrne, Director of NHS Lancaster
  • Maureen Westcott, Executive Director of the Arc of Lancaster


$7 ADULTS /$5 SENIORS & STUDENTS at www.artsmu.com or 717-871-7600

For FREE TICKETS for those with financial need, please e-mail Barry.Kornhauser@Millersville.edu


The Film: DEEJ

DEEJ is the story of DJ Savarese (“Deej”), a gifted, young writer and an advocate for nonspeaking autistics.  As a child, he was trapped in a silent world, abused in foster care, and written off as “retarded”.  Now, as a high school student dreaming of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, stubborn obstacles to inclusion, and the often paralyzing beauty of his own senses.  As an advocate for others like him, he embraces filmmaking and poetry and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

In this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a veteran filmmaker and a nonspeaking autistic, Robert Rooy and DJ share editorial control as they navigate the challenges of representing autism.  Funded by ITVS, DEEJ is a story told from the inside, by DJ – not by his parents or autism experts. It embodies the level of participation that disability rights advocates insist upon: “Nothing about us without us. DEEJ is a powerful story on many levels.  It’s the courageous quest of a passionate young man to “find freedom” for himself and others like him.  It’s a dramatic coming-of-age story in an intense, pressure-filled environment.  It’s an inspiring love story that includes his adoptive parents, a devoted extended family – and, more recently, a likeminded young woman who wrestles with her own disability.  And, it’s a deep exploration of what it really takes to make the goals of “inclusion” and “disability rights” a reality.