The Story of Luke
The Story of Luke is a 2012 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Alonso Mayo. It is Mayo's first feature-length film and tells the story of Luke, a young man with autism who embarks on a quest for a job and a girlfriend. It stars Lou Taylor Pucci, Seth Green, Cary Elwes and Kristin Bauer.
|The Story of Luke|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alonso Mayo|
|Produced by||Julien Favre|
|Written by||Alonso Mayo|
|Starring||Lou Taylor Pucci|
|Music by||Mateo Messina|
|Edited by||Vikash Patel|
|Distributed by||Gravitas Ventures|
- Lou Taylor Pucci as Luke
- Seth Green as Zack
- Cary Elwes as Paul
- Kristin Bauer as Cindy
- Kenneth Welsh as Jonas
- Tyler Stentiford as Brad
- Mackenzie Munro as Megan
- Sabryn Rock as Maria
- Lisa Ryder as Sara
- Dewshane Williams as Sam
- Art Hindle as Mr. Nichols
- Zoë Belkin as Charlene
- Michael Kinney as Counselor Bobby
- John Boylan as Mr. Harrison
The film was inspired by director Alonso Mayo's experiences at Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú. While finishing his undergrad studies in film and journalism in Peru, Mayo helped produced a series of training videos for creating supported employment programs and met many men and women with autism and other developmental disabilities. Later, while writing the screenplay for The Story of Luke, Mayo returned to Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú on a research trip and shot the documentary Just Like Anyone.
The Story of Luke premiered at the 2012 San Diego Film Festival, where it won Best Film. It has gone on to win over 20 film festival awards including Best Film at San Antonio Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival and San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. It was released theatrically and on demand in the United States and Canada on April 5, 2013 by Gravitas Ventures. It was released on DVD on August 6, 2013.
Autism community reception
The Story of Luke received positive reviews from the autism community, especially for Lou Taylor Pucci's portrayal of a man with autism. Psychology Today columnist and autism advocate Chantal Sicile-Kira wrote, "Most parents of youths with autism will find this movie uplifting and encouraging—we all hope and wish our youths will be successful in finding employment and someone to love… Lou Taylor Pucci's portrayal of Luke is spot on. His manners, gestures and tone of voice feel authentic."
The film also received the endorsement of advocacy organization Autism Speaks. Leslie Long, Director of Housing and Adult Services wrote, "Luke transforms the people around him that were under the assumption they would be caring for him. This is not unique but not often discussed either. Most people have not had the pleasure of really knowing someone with autism in all facets of their lives so they miss the nuances of their humor or the effortless ways they tell the whole truth."
Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Mayo's script avoids turning Luke into some wise holy fool, allowing him to make missteps along the way... "The Story of Luke" is not a saga of epic proportions, but with a huge assist from Pucci’s layered performance, takes a premise that could easily be movie-of-the-week sappy and finds a humanizing lightness."
Daniel M. Gold of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Pucci (“Thumbsucker,” “The Music Never Stopped”) gives a thoughtful and nuanced performance but gets few favors from the script, which puts him front and center in almost every scene… the film serves as a modest reminder that the challenges of autism may sometimes be no more daunting or fearsome than those that face anyone in search of an independent life."
In a more mixed review, Chuck Wilson of The Village Voice called it "a charming little film in need of a bit more grit… Luke faces challenges, to be sure, both within himself and out in the world, but even the meanies at the office are only sitcom-mean. In the end, Luke's path to self-empowerment is funny and sweet and a little too easy."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|San Diego Film Festival||September 29, 2012||Best Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival||November 14, 2012||Audience Award for Best American Indie||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Bahamas International Film Festival||December 9, 2012||Audience Award for Best Narrative||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Irvine International Film Festival||January 21, 2013||Best Feature Narrative||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Best 1st Time Director||Alonso Mayo||Won|
|Best Actor||Lou Taylor Pucci||Won|
|Best Trailer||The Story of Luke||Won|
|The Saint Augustine Film Festival||January 25, 2013||People’s Choice Award for Best Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|San Francisco IndieFest||February 22, 2013||Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Festivus film festival||February 23, 2013||Best Narrative Feature||The Story of Luke||Won|
|San Luis Obispo International Film Festival||March 9, 2013||Best Narrative Feature||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Audience Award for Best Narrative Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Omaha Film Festival||March 12, 2013||Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Green Bay Film Festival||March 14, 2013||Film Lovers Choice Award||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Best Screenplay||Alonso Mayo||Won|
|Phoenix Film Festival||April 8, 2013||Special Jury Prize||Lou Taylor Pucci||Won|
|Garden State Film Festival||April 8, 2013||Best Narrative Feature||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Sunscreen Film Festival||April 23, 2013||Best Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Arizona International Film Festival||April 28, 2013||Special Jury Award for Best Performance||Lou Taylor Pucci||Won|
|San Antonio Film Festival||June 24, 2013||Grand Prize for Best Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
|Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival||September 23, 2013||Best Northern Ontario Feature Film||The Story of Luke||Won|
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