Just days ahead of its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, Alexandra Shiva’s How to Dance in Ohio has been acquired by HBO Documentary Films. How to Dance in Ohio will also take part in Sundance 2015’s U.S. Documentary Competition.
Here’s a press description of the movie:
A first kiss, a first dance. These are the rites of passage of American youth that hold the promise of magic, romance and initiation into adulthood. For kids from all walks of life, these first steps toward intimacy are at once exciting and terrifying. For some teenagers and young adults on the autism spectrum, the transition can be nothing less than paralyzing. In How to Dance in Ohio, director Alexandra Shiva follows a group of young people in Columbus, Ohio, with an array of developmental challenges as they prepare for an iconic event – a spring formal dance. They spend 12 weeks confronting and practicing their social skills as they prepare for the big event, to be hosted at a local disco. Working with their trusted psychologist, they deconstruct fear and larger-than-life social anxiety one step at a time by picking dates, dresses, and, ultimately, a King and Queen of the Prom. How to Dance in Ohio is a story of the universal human need to grow, connect and belong as uniquely dramatized by individuals facing the deepest struggle toward social survival.
The premium cable network bought all TV rights of the documentary. Shiva commented on the deal, “A domestic broadcast on HBO will ensure that this film reaches the widest possible audience throughout the country and I am excited to be working with them to do that. This is a film not only for the many whose lives are touched in some way by autism, but also for anyone who can relate to the fraught experience of growing up and trying to understand adulthood.”
Shiva previously made the documentaries Bombay Eunuch and Stagedoor.
Watch a short featurette about How to Dance in Ohio below, in which the filmmaker explains why she made a documentary about teenagers on the autism scale and how it contributes to our understanding of living with the neurodevelopmental disorder.