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As an upcoming documentary, The Divergent Gift: Unboxing Autism focuses on deepening positive Autistic identity through visualizing the various unseen struggles, challenges, gifts, and abilities of those on the (so called) “mild” end of the autism spectrum. Combining interviews with richly animated visualizations, the film explores many diverse experiences of this rising area of diagnosis as well as a personal journey showcasing just what it means to wonder—am I on the spectrum? The goal is to create a resonant and captivating film made by the Neurodivergent and Autistic community, for the community—and beyond.

Today in the United States, approximately one in thirty six children are officially diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) according to the CDC. This diagnosis is becoming increasingly common each year (with growing awareness and qualifying criteria), and the increasing rate of “cases” continues to outpace societies ability to provide appropriate training for educators and others working to understand and support even these “mildly” (level 1) autistic children, teens, and adults. This surprising statistic also does not account for those that have either been misdiagnosed or have gone undiagnosed for years without appropriate support or validation, and are just now making sense of their recontextualized experiences of acute difference.

As every experience of those on the spectrum is unique from person to person (even with a diagnosis or self identifying), visualizing various special abilities, interests, and the challenges of difference is an important journey for normalizing, de-stigmatizing, and encouraging greater support, understanding, and acceptance. From educators to family and friends—or those curious and questioning about themselves—this film resonates on a deep and personal level that will captivate and inspire in equal measure.

Ways to support and contribute

We are currently accepting donations! Partnering with the Portland Art Museum as our 501(c) nonprofit Fiscal Sponsor (for 100% tax deductible donations), we’re excited to announce an incredibly impactful fundraising drive for hiring Neurodivergent and Autistic artists for illustrating and visualizing stories of lived Autistic experiences shared within this film as it wraps up production.

creative team!

We are proud to have assembled a stellar creative team directly from the Nuerodivergent and Autistic community. Working with production partner Funnelbox Inc, a B-Corp certified company, as well as North Pole Studio, we are thrilled to embark on the post-production side of this project! Please consider joining this journey by contributing to the film—as all funds raised during this campaign are going directly to this creative team and are completely Tax deductible thanks to our nonprofit Fiscal Sponsor, the Portland Art Museum and Center for an Untold Tomorrow (PAM/CUT).


With so many other levels of severity and intensity (not to mention their fluctuation from moment to moment) of experiences surrounding being autistic, why focus on what is clinically referred to as “level 1” and formerly Aspergers?

Regrettably, this film cannot be everything for everyone, and there are SO many important topics surrounding autism… This film, though, can be a tool for advocacy and bring an often overlooked and growing “area” of the spectrum into sharper focus. More and more individuals (of all ages and walks of life) are wondering about themselves and loved ones, and we hope this will help strengthen the conversation and also help drop some of that damaging stigma and the many assumptions that come with the word autism. From validation to inspiration, challenges and gifts, each person deserves recognition, awareness, and better understanding. This film is our attempt at supporting this particular neighborhood of the autistic community and neurodivergent.

When will the film be released?

First things first, this documentary is still currently being filmed and animated—and both take a bit of time. The plan is for a summer 2024 release. With that said, the more ongoing support, the more we can accomplish, so please feel free to get involved and help us get to the finish line :-)

Who is being interviewed? Can I make a recommendation?

There are a number of high-profile interview participants that are involved currently; however, we still are open to other leads or suggestions! If you know of someone of particular influence, inspiration, or expertise, feel free to reach out and send us an email.There are a number of high-profile interview participants that are involved currently; however, we are open to other leads or suggestions! If you know of someone of particular influence, inspiration, or expertise, feel free to reach out and send us an email. If you think your own voice and representation could greatly benefit this film and the themes being explored, please feel free to reach out and submit a subject interest form here.

I haven’t heard back after sending you an email—what’s up?

Thanks for the email, first of all! While we appreciate all of the email and inquiries, we cannot always get to them as quickly as we would like—and thank you for your patience! If you have references to other related websites and community resources that others might find valuable and helpful, please feel free to post on our Facebook page.

Who are you?

As a collaborative collective of creatives (say that five times fast), we represent a range of experiences and talents as members of the autism community. We believe in supporting positive autism identity and fostering and strengthening how neurodiversity is represented and accepted within larger communities, families, and educational systems. We are also creatively corralled by award winning filmmaker, digital artist, and author Bret Malley. As an educator and professional multimedia artist, this project does not get more personal nor important. Part of this film will include his own journey of seeking an official diagnosis after his recent ten year old son’s diagnosis.

How can I get involved?

Glad you asked! Email us or send us a message and we can chat about involvement. We’re on the lookout for talented animators, VFX artists, and other professional participants in the creative industry, especially if you identify or are otherwise a part of the neurodivergent and autism community.


Want to support, join the team, or simply ask some questions, contact us here: