Experiencing Interruptions?


Nina and Lisa are two sisters destined to be the best of friends, but with a diagnosis autism at the age of 2, Lisa’s voice disappears. Without communication, Nina and Lisa set out to find connection and sisterhood.

  • Nina Vallado
  • Paul B. Kim
  • Lisa Vallado
    Key Cast
  • Nina Vallado
    Key Cast
  • Karen Vallado
    Key Cast
  • Leila Silva
    Key Cast
  • Livia Forbes
    Key Cast
  • Lilian Silva
    Key Cast
  • Liliane Pires de Faria
    Key Cast
  • André Barros
  • Amber Kuo
    Art Director
  • Gabi Vallu
    Motion Graphics Animator
  • Alexandre Veiga
    Sound Mixer
  • Chris James
    Sound Mixer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 31, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    14,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Brazil, Iceland, United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Nina Vallado

Nina Vallado was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and moved to the United States of America at the age of six. She received her BFA in Documentary Film from Andrews University.

Nina’s passion for social justice and equality is stemmed from her experiences as an immigrant and her close relationship with autism. Nina strives to tell stories that can evoke empathy and connection between human beings. She strongly believes that storytelling is the world’s greatest tool for change.

Nina has worked on short documentary projects that have won awards, such as "Then Came Sandy" and "Papi". Her senior project, "Sisterly," for her undergraduate studies, focuses on her complex relationship with her sister with autism. "Sisterly" is a student film produced over the course of four years and has involved artists and professionals from Brazil, United States of America, Portugal and Iceland.

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Director Statement

The relationship between siblings is difficult to define. A relationship between parent and child, or between friends, is easily understood and carries certain expectations. Sisterhood is a different matter, and adding autism into the mix, only complicates the matter more.

My film is about the complexities of a sisterhood without communication. My sister Lisa is diagnosed with autism, and for the first 16 years of her life she did not communicate. After learning rapid-prompt method, a communication method using a stencil board, her life changed. While Lisa’s life was beginning anew, my life remained almost unchanged. Two people living under the same roof, sharing the same family, sharing similar experiences, yet, living almost opposite lives.

The world of autism is one that isolates and builds unwanted walls between neurotypicals and those on the autism spectrum. Misunderstanding and broken communication have been the bricks that separated my sister and me. I have faced these walls for years , but rarely tried to climb over them, or tear them down.

In the four years of my thesis production, I have learned more about my sister than I have my entire life. My camera allowed me to focus more clearly on her struggles, her pain, her story. Throughout the production of this film, I have questioned my role in her life as her older sister.

In my film, I intertwine the search for connection with my sister with her personal search for independence. My film is a pursuit for a meaningful relationship within the world of autism. The story builds as we learn to communicate. The more we learn about one another, the more we tear down the walls that separate us. The film is not meant to resolve all of our problems, but to come to terms with the sisterhood that we are creating for ourselves.