It’s a bizarre time. The corona virus affects us all. The precautions put in place to curb the spread of the virus influence all our daily activities. Unfortunately, this also means our planned Sneak Preview of the documentary of Merlijn Goldsack on the 2nd of April, World Autism Day, will be cancelled. Instead, Merlijn will launch the trailer of his documentary online on this important day. The documentary itself will be released later this year.
The Brunel Foundation supports the production of this unique documentary about Merlijn’s experience during his childhood in relation to growing up and learning with autism. His development from child to young adult with autism, his perseverance and believe in himself no matter what. His research led him to the USA and Finland.
Education plays an important role as ‘front portal’ for the possibilities on the labour market. This documentary makes a contribution to the Brunel Foundation’s objective to support the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) by helping the future, young and senior professionals with autism increase their job opportunities".
‘My journey for education’ should be a stimulus for young people with autism. A motivation to take alternative paths that lead to better chances and eventually being able to participate in the labour market, despite of their autism. Merlijn shows it’s possible! The documentary also intends to shape the awareness process of administrators, government and other professional stakeholders in a positively critical way, so that they will reform education and thereby connect better with this group of young people.
Merlijn is an example for many people with autism. He dropped out of school when he was a young boy because of his autism. A youngster with no certificates, depressed because of his situation, with a low self-esteem, but gifted with a talent. His mother saw his talent and asked the producers at OQTOO (a production house for fiction and documentary drama productions) – Ben Willems and Paul Veld, if they could help Merlijn to develop his talent by starting small initiatives in filming and editing. Most of the time the main subject was: creating awareness for autism in his short films/vlogs. Ben and Paul saw how Merlijn’s talent as a filmmaker grew, as well as his personality and self-confidence. They supported him to go abroad searching for answers to the following questions: What is the reason that so many children in the Netherlands don’t go to school because of their autism? Why can they be successful at a regular school in the USA or Finland and why isn’t that possible in the Netherlands?
When OQTOO saw Merlijn’s film material, they realised they needed to make a documentary out of it. They saw that Merlijn’s story could make a change in lives of people with autism and in society. The Brunel Foundation believes in Merlijn and his documentary and therefore we are happy to support it.
Merlijn is eighteen years old now, a certified 3D producer and has just started an internship at an innovation driven digital agency. He works with coders and creative minds who are specialised in combining creativity and technology. He is the youngest at the office, but is doing great. You can imagine how different his situation and perspective were a few years ago. Now he has a whole future ahead.
Merlijn hopes that his story will inspire many others. He says: “it was a big challenge to film it all. During this process I had to face my deepest pain again. Thinking I wasn’t worth it, thinking I was different, dumb and that there wasn’t a future for me ahead. As a result I became very depressed, and it all looked very dark. I think it’s important that other children and young adults, who are facing the same, learn that there are alternative paths. My documentary is about pain and hope. I wish to show everyone that it is crucial to choose the right path.”
The documentary will be released later this year. In the meantime, we'd like to invite you to watch the trailer here.
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