ML - Boston Common

2013 - Issue 3 - Summer

Boston Common - Niche Media - A side of Boston that's anything but common.

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INSPIRATION GENERATION Paul Bernon and Sean Curran helped produce Best Kept Secret, a documentary with personal resonances. rate. They could learn and develop in school, but once they graduated or "aged out" of the state-supported system, they had few options to make a life for themselves. Bernon, who has a younger brother with a genetic disorder called Williams syndrome, admired Mino's work and felt deeply for the students in her documentary, who were not so different from his own brother. Unfortunately, the film's original producers had tapped out their funds before completing the project. Best Kept Secret's original team was "70 percent done with shooting, and they needed money to finish," says Bernon, "as well as paying for Film you wish you were developing: post-production costs and for marketing and "The Avengers 2, editing." He wanted to help, and he had the directed by Joss know-how to make a difference. A principal Whedon and at Rubicon Real Estate of Wellesley, he has a starring Robert film and television degree from Boston Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Jeremy University, and last year he cofounded a film Renner." company, Burn Later Productions. —Paul Bernon Bernon recruited a longtime friend from Favorite movie: the Boston area to help them out: Sean "Documentary: Curran, the CEO of Waterville Consulting, Street Fight, about who has an older sister afflicted with Down Cory Booker's first mayoral run. syndrome. ( Jason Weissman, another film Fictional: Any Guy devotee who is founder and principal of Ritchie movie Boston Realty Advisors, also helped.) works for me." "Without us raising money and awareness, —Sean Curran they would not have been able to continue," Bernon says. Curran felt similarly, and, like Bernon, had experienced both the heartbreak and the fierce love of having a disabled sibling. Regarding the rise of autism, he says, "The problem is getting bigger, not smaller. I hope the audience leaves the film realizing we have a collective responsibility to develop opportunities for young adults with autism when they leave the safe harbor of the school system." The two hope Best Kept Secret will spur viewers to action. "Not to spoil it," says Bernon, "but it's the type of film you walk away from feeling like you need to do more. You're not thinking that all these adults find a great place to go post-schooling, because that's just not A TEAM OF LOCAL PHILANTHROPIC FILMMAKERS the case. It's almost a call for action to better help people CHAMPIONS UNDERPRIVILEGED AUTISTIC STUDENTS in low-income areas who have children with developTHROUGH AN AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY. mental disabilities." Adds Curran, "We would have BY JIM SULLIVAN loved a story that ended with all the subjects enjoying fruitful and contributing lives, because you can't help but Late in 2011, Paul Bernon was browsing the Kickstarter website when he fall in love with each of them. The fact is, that just isn't happening in underspotted a trailer for a not-quite-completed documentary film, Best Kept Secret. resourced communities." Local viewers have already fallen in love with the film. Best Kept Secret The film was about Newark, New Jersey, teacher Janet Mino's quest to transition her severely autistic students from the relative security of school premiered at the Independent Film Festival Boston in April and won into the real world. These were mostly African-American kids from one of the Audience Award for Documentary Film. It will air on PBS stations the poorest areas in the country, in a state that has an extremely high autism September 23, so the rest of the world can fall in love with it, too. BC INSIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY BY JJ MILLER a secret no more 46 BOSTONCOMMON-MAGAZINE.COM 046_BC_SP_InspriationGen_SUM13.indd 46 6/10/13 10:26 AM

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