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Coming up on Connections: Wednesday, April 27, 2022

"In A Different Key" Logo, with title text and a man walking in a forest
"In A Different Key" Logo

First hour: Previewing "In A Different Key," a documentary on the history of autism

Second hour: Discussing the line between scripted dramas and documentaries

What do we know about the first person ever diagnosed with autism in the United States? In his rural Mississippi city, the now elderly man is known as Don. In medical literature, he’s known as “Case #1.” Donald Gray Triplett was diagnosed with autism in 1943. In a medical article announcing the condition, it was described as one unlike “anything reported so far.” Triplett’s community has embraced him throughout the decades; his neighbors speak of him lovingly and he’s sort of a local legend. Journalist and filmmaker Caren Zucker read about Triplett and she wanted to meet him. Zucker’s son Mickey has autism, and she hoped that by understanding how Triplett’s community support and love him, she could use what she learned to help people like her son. Zucker documented her experience in a film called “In A Different Key,” which will be screened Thursday evening at the Theater at Innovation Square. This hour, we preview the film and our guests discuss what they hope audiences will learn when it comes to perspectives about autism. Our guests:

  • Caren Zucker, filmmaker of “In A Different Key”
  • John Donvan, filmmaker of “In A Different Key”
  • Tracy Crosby, executive director of the Arc Foundation of Monroe
  • Amy Lutz, author, and parent of an adult child who has severe autism
  • Sarah Milko, executive director of AutismUp
  • Christen Smith, director of marketing and communications for the Arc of Monroe

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Then in our second hour, Americans love fictionalized versions of real events. Shows like “Winning Time,” “The Dropout,” and “Inventing Anna” are on fire right now -- with viewers, if not always with critics. But the real-life figures depicted in these shows are also covered in documentary films. So how much should viewers expect scripted dramas to be faithful to real life? And at a time when a growing number of celebrities are being given creative control over documentaries about them, what should we know as viewers about docs? We have a variety of show clips to examine with our guests:

  • Vashti Anderson, filmmaker, and assistant professor in the School of Film and Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Linda Moroney, filmmaker, director and programmer for the One Take Documentary Film Series, and adjunct professor in the Department of Media and Communication at St. John Fisher College
  • Todd Sodano, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Media and Communication at St. John Fisher College
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.