On the last Monday of each month, the independent Little Theatre brings together local filmmakers who wish to have their films screened to a public audience in the Emerging Filmmaker’s Series. This week’s films focused on local documentarians and their films about Rochester residents.

The first film, entitled “Different and Normal: My Life With Asperger Syndrome,” was an inspiring piece about a young man and his personal triumphs over Asperger Syndrome, a complicated and pervasive developmental disorder which most often affects social skills.

Those of you who attended Spike Lee’s speech on campus may remember a young man named Adrian Esposito who told Lee that he would like to make a documentary on “old people,” because “they won’t be a long for very long.” While many found it humorous, Adrian was rather sincere in his intentions. Though his communication skills are impeded by his disorder, he is one of the most dedicated film watchers I have ever encountered. Adrian proves that change is possible for someone with his condition and shows utter determination to become a filmmaker and animator.

One of Adrian’s humorous animation shorts was screened following “A Man and His Pig,” a film about a hungry pig who eyes his owner’s sandwich before swallowing the sandwich and the man’s hand. You can visit the film’s web site at htpp://www.differentandnormal.com to learn more about the film and when the DVD will be released.

Another film, “Identity through Art: Rochester Asian American Artists,” depicted local Asian American artists of various medium such as sculpting, dancing, stained glass and acting. The film was inspiring to all types of artists. All of the film’s subjects have found solace in their work and have escaped the monotony of a standard “9 to 5” job. Despite outside pressures, income and societal expectations of what is considered an acceptable occupation, these artists continue to pursue what they love.

The final film, “White Wonder,” was a humorous documentary about Daniel Swinton, a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Film and Animation and his search for the true home of the elusive white squirrel. Daniel visited three towns across the U.S. and Canada, all of which claimed to be the only home of the white squirrel. Throughout the film, he was confronted by interesting, quirky characters who obsessed over the squirrel and their own town’s claim as its only home. The film moved very quickly and generated a good deal of laughter from the audience.

Though all of these films at times may seem unpolished to a general audience because of their low budgets and mostly amateur crews, they are all great examples of local filmmaking talent. It was inspiring to know that anyone who puts forth the effort can submit their work to the Emerging Filmmaker’s Series.

Oleksa can be reached at loleksa@campustimes.org.

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