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DEEJ Documentary Film Finds a Voice in Unspeaking Beauty

Veteran filmmaker Robert Rooy examines the life of a non-speaking autistic teen, DJ “Deej” Savarese in an uplifting documentary titled DEEJ, to open as part of BlackRock Center for the Arts Independent Film Series on Sunday, September 24, at 4:00 pm. Rooy, whose credits include Lonesome Dove, Honeymoon in Vegas, Minority Report and The West Wing shares editorial control of the film with DJ to create a first of its kind collaboration.

Having been abandoned at birth by his parents and unable to speak for himself, DJ eventually found not only a loving family but also a life in words, which he types on a text-to-voice synthesizer. As he makes his way through high school and dreams of college, he confronts the terrors of his past, obstacles to inclusion, and the sometimes paralyzing beauty of his own senses. In his advocacy on behalf of other nonspeaking autistics, he embraces filmmaking and poetry, and discovers what having a voice can truly mean.

Robert Rooy was as an assistant director on more than forty films, including Lonesome Dove, Honeymoon in Vegas, Minority Report and The West Wing. He has also worked as an independent filmmaker in more than twenty countries creating media with and for international development, human rights and environmental organizations. He is the producer/director of To Our Credit, an in-depth PBS documentary series that explores microfinance as an anti-poverty strategy.

DEEJ is part of this year’s On Screen/In Person Film Series by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation and hosted at BlackRock. Each film features a post-screening opportunity with its filmmakers, often featuring a panel.

Tickets for the film cost $7 individually or, if bought as part of the BlackRock Independent Film Series, $36, which saves $1 on all six films in the series.

This screening will be General Admission and seating is first-come, first served. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Patron Services by emailing info@blackrockcenter.org or calling 240-912-1058.

The screening is part of the On Screen/In Person series, a program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts.

BlackRock Center for the Arts is centrally located in the heart of Germantown, next to the Germantown Branch Montgomery County Public Library, at 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, MD 20874. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the building.