Meet the Figmental State Family!
Writer. Director. Producer. It's a wonder Roberto ever finds time to think! Describing himself as “An autistic director telling an autistic story”, Roberto Espinosa is the founder of Meteorite Entertainment and the Writer and Director of Figmental State. He recently chatted with our Director of Outreach and Media to talk about the inspiration for Figmental State, how Hollywood's representation of autistic adults is making progress, and why funding this movie means so much to him.
Where did the idea for Figmental State come from?
"Figmental State first began back in high school, when I started writing a story about a boy and his imaginary friend on the first page of a small notebook. Eventually that story blossomed and grew into a story about a sheltered boy and his overprotective parents, his imaginary (and only) friend, and a girl who wants to break him out of his shell."
How does being autistic shape the stories you write?
"A lot of the inspiration for Mike- the main character- came from my own experiences growing up with autism. I was bullied a lot and asked if I was ‘normal’, and always felt like something must be wrong with me. In the story, Mike meets an extroverted girl named Jane, who shows him what life can be like when you have a healthy support system. I never had anyone like Jane growing up and wish I did. Someone to show me what life could have been if I had been supported, rather than stigmatized."
What would funding Figmental State mean to you as an autistic director?
"I want Figmental State to show the world that autistic directors deserve to be given a chance to tell our stories the way we want, not the way Hollywood sees us. We’ve come a long way since Rain Man, that’s for sure, and autistic adults are less and less being portrayed in a manner that is demeaning or treats us as outcasts. Now it’s our turn to write the scripts, and to let us speak for ourselves."