IN A BEAT
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Genre: Drama, Emotional, Heartfelt, Inspirational
A Film by: 37 LAINES
Starring: Chloe Arnold, Cameron Elie, Arthur Duncan
Director: Natasha Mynhier
Cinematographer: Jeff Hammerton
Editor: Natasha Mynhier and Jeff Hammerton
About the Film
Darrel, a young Black autistic boy, convinces his mom to let him stay home alone so she can pursue a once in a lifetime opportunity. But when unexpected circumstances surface, he must find a unique way to cope with his meltdown alone.
It's been a 3-year process, we're finally releasing the film online, but now we have to promote it for everyone to see it. We've been asking everyone to share the film to help spread the word faster and we've been paying to advertise it. Our current plan is to promote the film in all of the English speaking countries first. Then to add more subtitled languages to the film and promote them in their respective countries.
Donate to the Film
If you think this film is as important as we do, you can join us in promoting it by sharing it. We’re getting it out there, but the more of us that share it, the more people will see it. You can also give your support financially by using the link below. You’ll be helping us promote the film, and focus more of our time and energy making films like IN A BEAT. Thank you, it takes a lot of people, time and money to make films like these and it's much easier with your help.
And thank you to all of those who have already given their time, money, or resources, there are a lot of you. We couldn’t have made this film without you! Please enjoy the film! - Natasha and Jeff
Natasha Mynhier and Jeff Hammerton met in 2015 and have worked together on every project since. Together they have shot commercials for companies like Netflix, Marvel, Vogue, and Viacom, as well as various other content including live events, dance films, music videos, and documentaries. They both shoot, direct, edit, make music - in short, they do whatever is necessary to get something made!
In 2019, Natasha and Jeff started adding to their team at 37 LAINES to create a diverse crew of women and men who are pursuing the goal of making entertaining social awareness films together.
PS... In the background of this picture is the original sticky-note plot for In A Beat!
Our Neurodiversity Consultant and Autism Advocates
As a parent to an autistic child, a former caregiver for autistic children, and being autistic myself, it is clear that I possess unique life experiences and perspectives towards the autism community. I started autistic Barbie nine months ago in hopes of finding healing and understanding within myself after my late diagnosis. Soon, it became clear that it would turn into much more. I've created a space focused on bringing the community together rather than divide. I have zero tolerance for ableism and have no fear in tackling tough conversations and open discussions. I have joined the IN A BEAT team as a Neurodiversity Consultant, to assure that the filmmakers were given notes on the film before the release by an outside actually autistic advocate and to advise the team throughout the release. I've also started a petition to ban children's autism meltdown videos on YouTube as it is a clear violation of privacy with a gross disregard of consent. Lately my focus is bridging the gap between traditional mainstream advocacy roles within the parent community with the Actually Autistic community of adults. This is my passion and calling. We need true acceptance, not more awareness. We need to confront these dynamics, heal, and learn from one another. It's time.
In 2013, Jen began her online presence by posting videos to YouTube of her piano interpretations of popular songs. At the time, she did not want to talk much in her videos for fear of being made fun of for her differences. But in 2017, her confidence had improved enough for her to start her YouTube channel, Rebranding Autism, inspiring and motivating her viewers to have confidence, get out of their comfort zone and try new things.
Since starting this channel, she has become a motivational speaker, giving interviews and talks at the Music Compound in Sarasota Florida about what it is like to be an autistic YouTuber, on WSRQ Radio, courtesy of Goodwill Sarasota, and at Easterseals of Southwest Florida, where she spoke to a class of young adults about confidence when growing up with disabilities.
Jennifer was recently was chosen by Amtrak to be a social media resident for their #AmtrakTakeMeThere campaign, and vlog about her experiences traveling on their trains as someone on the autism spectrum. She was also recently featured on A&E’s new series The Employables, which follows adults with Tourettes Syndrome and Autism as they search for meaningful employment in the community.
In addition to all these things, Jennifer is active in her local community, she is a member of Bayside Community Church’s worship team where she plays the keys and she volunteers at the Humane Society of Highlands County. It is worth mentioning that she is also a member of American Mensa.
Jennifer has come a long way from living in residential schools and state hospitals since the age of 15, to now having a greater level of independence. She has overcome severe self harm, impulsivity and aggressive behavior, and is now living a full life with meaningful employment and advocacy work.
Jennifer teamed up with Natasha Mynhier and the IN A BEAT team when they contacted her to watch the film before it had come out. When they asked for her for her thoughts on the film, she told Natasha that she wouldn't change a thing, because Jennifer related to the story - down to the toast being buttered on only one half. If you have questions about autism or about how to be an artist on the spectrum, feel free to reach out to Jennifer. She loves working with new friends.
A Note from the Director
This project was designed, first and foremost, in dedication to the Autism Community. My hope has been to create a memorable and moving portrayal that reveals the intricacies of not only an authentic autistic representation but the family dynamics through the underrepresented lens of a Black family in Los Angeles.
However, it is important that I highlight the incredibly true point - when you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. Representing the entire autism community would be like trying to represent every American in one film. It’s impossible. Diversity is what makes the community beautiful. So instead, I focused on one boy whose story was personal, beautiful, and unique, in hopes that people might relate and enjoy.
By setting the story in 2013, the goal was to subtly allude to the challenges neurotypical parents faced when trying to find the right messaging to support their loved ones - a time when awareness was still the goal, rather than acceptance. Despite recognizing the shortcomings of the mother’s efforts to raise her son, I chose to use a naturalistic tone to represent, without judgment, the mutually accepting relationship of mother and son, letting the strength and resilience of both shine through. The dynamics are complex, but never fail to highlight the deepest admiration and love for one another.
Over the past two years, I’ve written and rewritten the script in order to create a piece that promotes acknowledgment and acceptance. It was most important to me that I participate in dismantling the stereotype that autistics lack empathy. This is fundamentally untrue. So I thought...let’s make his empathetic decision the driver for the main conflict of the story - his decision to convince his mother to go to an audition when he observes how much she desires to go. Therefore, if it weren’t for his empathy, nothing would have happened in the film.
The story was inspired by my family member's experience with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis with Sensory Processing Disorder and the story of the first time he self-soothed during a meltdown. This individual gave me their continued consent and the absolute privilege to highlight and use his experiences to share with the community in hopes to inspire others. My greatest effort has been and always will be to continue to create a thought-provoking, inclusive and eye-opening portrayal of family dynamics with an autism diagnosis present as much as possible. Throughout the process, I consulted this individual, his mother, advocates in the autism community, various Autism Foundations, and UCLA's Center for Autism Research and Treatment to help guide the portrayals of the child's world and experiences.
Further, I wanted to utilize my experiences in the world of music and dance. I have spent over 20 years in the dance industry and more than any of the shows, the most notable memories I have are from the intimate ways I experienced music and movement at home. Times with my family, slow dancing with a loved one, or seeing a child conquer a fear by joining in a beat. It is important to me that this film includes dance in the way that I have witnessed it - as a source of unity, a mechanism for healing, and a method of communication that functions in ways that words can’t.
I am honored to have prominent figures from the tap community involved in the production, including Emmy Nominated Choreographer, Chloe Arnold, who plays the mother. A generation of women have been inspired by her work, including myself, so it has been an absolute privilege to work with her. I have never seen a film about tap featuring a female lead - I hope this film can be a part of the effort to change that. The film also features the renowned Arthur Duncan, who plays himself as one of the great icons in tap history. If you have not seen any of Arthur’s historic performances, I highly recommend looking them up. They are sure to make you smile.
I am so grateful to the friends, family, donors, and sponsors who made this film possible. And to my cousin whose story started it all, thank you for allowing me to share such a personal moment — I hope your story can inspire many as much as it has inspired me.