Sonja is waiting for dad

Sonja is waiting for her father on her tenth birthday. It is still hard for her to wait, and her dad is very late. People with ASD are different and unique. Sonja has been diagnosed with autism, but that does not stop her from looking forward to meeting her dad, whom she sees very rarely, and getting upset when something goes wrong. Mom gently tries to help Sonja cope, but sometimes she still can't.

  •  Lena Ritter
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 25, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
    Russian Federation
  • Country of Filming:
    Russian Federation
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - School of documentary animation at the "Rudnik-2023" festival
Director Biography -  Lena Ritter

Lena Ritter. Born in 1978 in Krasnodar. Documentary film director. Studied contemporary art and documentary theater at Theater.doc, then graduated from the Moscow School of New Cinema (Artur Aristakisyan's directing laboratory). Her debut documentary "No Man is the Island" screened in the national competition of Message to Man IFF 2022. "Sonja is Waiting for Dad" is her educational work made within the framework of the school of documentary animation of the festival "Rudnik - 2023". Lena works with children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental challenges. At the end of 2023 Lena is leaving Russia to escape the military regime.

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Director Statement

Director's statement on the relevance to the topic of mental health.

The heroes of the film are mother and daughter, the girl is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and her mother helps her as much as she can. She defends her right to raise her daughter the way she feels is right, not the way the institutions insist. The author of the film is a specialist in working with children with special needs, an experimental documentary filmmaker and a close friend of the two. The film aims both to increase the visibility of autism and to find an appropriate ethical way of talking about autism from the outside. The author is concerned with the question of how to talk about this girl not through her diagnosis and not through her symptoms. How to show a specific person, her desires. To do this, she uses one of the many episodes in her life: On her birthday, the girl is waiting for her father, who is usually absent from her life. A situation that every girl and every mother can relate to. But a particularly difficult one for the two of them. This little film is part of a larger documentary project that is dedicated to this very subject.