THE DOUKAS SISTERS began their career writing and producing short films. The Ryan Express, their feature debut screenplay, advanced to the second round of Austin Film Festival's Script Competition, a distinction only achieved by less than 20% of nearly 14,000 submissions. The Ryan Express is based on their short, “Rocket Man,” which was nominated for Best Short Film, Best Screenplay and won Best Ensemble.
"The only way Robby, an autistic sixth-grader, can move forward in his life is by inventing a time machine to travel back and fix his biggest mistake. Though made of little more than cardboard and scraps, it’s real to him. OUR STORY BEGINS WITH OUR HERO, ROBBY GRIFFITH… "
- Please visit https://www.theryanexpressmovie.com/story to learn more.
The Ryan Express Team Behind The Scenes: https://www.theryanexpressmovie.com/team
LAURA & RACHAEL DOUKAS, WRITERS/PRODUCERS
SEAN P. MCNAMARA, DIRECTOR
JAMES V. HART, PRODUCER
RIC NISH, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
families, project, work, awesome, movie, film, community, involved, ryan, life, mcnamara, autism, express, hoping, rachel, main takeaway, story, children, believes, inspiration
Hey everybody. Welcome
back to another episode of the autism and action podcast. I'm
Tosha Rollins, your
I'm Chris Hansen.
And today we have got some really exciting guests for you. We got Miss Rachel and Laura Ducasse of Ducasse pictures. They are writers and producers at the ryan Express movie. Welcome to the show, Rachel and, Laura, thank you so much for taking time to be here today.
Thank you for having me excited.
Oh, I'm Laura. And Rachel, you guys have an awesome project in the works called the ryan Express, as Tosha mentioned, can you can you talk a little bit about that project, and maybe some of the inspiration as well that that went into that?
So um, our film, The Ryan Express is about a boy with autism. He's a sixth grader. And really, the only way that he believes that he can move forward in his life is by inventing a time machine, which is really made of things that you'd find around the house to cardboard, scrap metal. And he believes that this is the only way that he can go back and get back on the baseball team, which he was kicked off of, for acting uncontrollably on the field and, you know, was provoked by a bully. And so really, his family and the community helps him on this journey. And, and it really is real to him. And he's able to go back and get closure, and also help a lot of the community get some relief and closure in their lives. So he has a great impact on the and others. And the inspiration behind it. One of our cousins is autistic and, and we've done a lot of work with the best buddies organization as well as one of our closest friends in college is on the spectrum as well. So although the film is not based on a particular person, we were able to draw on just some incredible inspiration from the autism community. And we're just really proud of it.
Well, that sounds really awesome. Thank you so much for for telling us about that.
Tell us a little bit more about your timeline for the for the movie, and where our listeners can find out more information. Sure. So
we plan to shoot our film in spring 2022. And if you'd like to find out more information about it, our website is the ryan Express movie.com you can read about our story as well as meet our team and also get involved if you'd like. Yeah, absolutely. And it's our goal to hire for the cast and crew 10% of individuals who identify as development, having a developmental disability. So if anyone you know has a child or even they themselves are interested in learning more about film, maybe working on set shadowing, or maybe even being an extra in the project, we'd love to get as many people from the community involved as possible. Because, you know, the truth is you cannot tell a story about a particular community without their direct involvement. And I think that that's what the film industry has been lacking for quite some time. And we're really, really hoping to bridge that gap.
That is amazing. It is amazing. Yeah, I was gonna ask you, um, you know, I see you're working with Sean McNamara as well as James Hart, or James v. Hart. And those are two really awesome people. How did you get involved with them? Yes,
he actually we met James v. Hart at a Was it a workshop a couple years ago, at the Ross School, and we were telling him about our project. And, you know, he really loved the story. And he's done some fabulous work. And so we were really lucky to team up with him. And he was part of this whole process, you know, also helping, you know, bring the project to life. And Sean McNamara, we ended up reaching out to him and we loved that, you know, he loved the story. And he got involved. And that really helped open up a lot of doors. He's done a lot of projects for Disney, a lot of family film. So it really, it was a great connection. And our team really seems to work very well together. Everybody is so creative and inspiring to one another.
That's awesome. And also out of curiosity, and just for our listeners here. At the end of the film, we're like after people view, what do you want the main message to be for them? What do you want the main takeaway to be or emotion even?
Well, I think the important thing about our project is I'm just thinking about shows like the good doctor and other projects that have been put out there. I'm not sure if you've noticed this, but oftentimes, people in the community are just portrayed as sort Like the savant ish type of person, and I think that, yeah, the story of the family dynamic is so important. And I think that people need to see, you know, what it's really like for these children, what they really go through, you know, what, what their everyday experiences are, like, instead of just focusing on that one aspect. So what we're hoping is, this project shows, you know, a really true, true interpretation of what daily life is like. And, yeah, I just hope that families can come in and watch and then at the end of the day, just be really proud that they can see that their experience is really worthy of glory. So that's what we're hoping for.
That's awesome. That kind of reminds me of the movie Mozart in the whale on that one, but it's one of the more more accurate or truer representations of, of the artist, artistic community, and just kind of the daily struggles and, you know, the falling in love and struggle around that. And, and there's a lot of really cool angles in that movie. You know about that one? Tosha.
will have to check that out, Chris, that's
awesome. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah. And I think, oh, sorry, go ahead. Oh, that's okay. I
was just gonna ask for families to be involved. Do they need to be in a specific area? How can families get more involved?
Sure. So we plan to shoot in New York and Texas. So if anyone is a local in the New York area, or Texas, you can obviously, you know, it's easier to be a part of if you're in the area. But another thing that we're doing is we're starting a campaign called magic moments. So what that is, we really want to show the true magic that these children bring to the world. So we're inviting families to send us say, a 30 minute video, I'm sorry, 32nd video of maybe a magic moment that they've had with their autistic child that they'd feel comfortable sharing. And we'd like to share that with our audience. Another thing that we're doing is at the end credits, we would like to include photographs, footage of real life families, with their children, just so they can feel that they're a part of something that they've you know, helped move the story along. So anyway, even if you're not from New York, not from Texas, we'd love absolutely love to have families involved.
is the best way for them to do that to hit to the to the website, the ryan Express movie.com.
Yeah, that would be the best way and our contact our email as well is Ducasse. Do UK s firstname.lastname@example.org. Yeah. And if you go on the website, and you click the link, get involved, there's a few options and then it will just send an email directly to us. And then we can have our team get in touch so perfect.
This is absolutely beautiful. What you guys are putting together and it's such a needed message. You almost have me in tears hearing about what you guys are doing. So for families, like from families like mine, thank you so so much for all your hard work and dedication. Putting this movie together. I absolutely cannot wait to see it.
Oh, thank you. And we hope that you know, maybe you both can be involved in some capacity. We'd absolutely love it. Oh, that'd
be really cool.
We'd welcome that opportunity for sure.
there anything else at all that you guys would like to share with our listeners today?
Just a huge, huge thank you for what you both are doing. It's just phenomenal and and you're inspiring so many people and just just awesome. Thank you so much. We're so excited to have met you over zoom.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Now, we would love to hear from you.
Do you have questions? Do you have ideas? Do you have an opinion? Do you think we missed something?
Let's have a discussion in the comments below or head over to the Autism in Action Facebook group. We would love to hear from you!