By Kire Paputts
The Rainbow Kid is a gritty coming of age story that follows Eugene, a teenager with Down syndrome, on the journey of his life. Obsessed with everything rainbows, whether it’s their beauty, their symbolism, or the myths that surround them, this obsession acts as an escape from his real life, which is a mess: he’s bullied at school, his hard-bitten mom neglects him, and the girl he likes doesn’t notice him. Worse, he discovers that he and his mom are on the verge of being evicted. Eugene decides to take matters into his own hands. He’ll find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Eugene will save the day.
An optimistic Eugene sets out on an adventure across rural Ontario and encounters a host of larger than life characters: an alcoholic dowser, a cross dressing punk rocker, and a special needs girl with a disturbing home life. As he struggles to adapt and understand the worrisome situations he finds himself in, a strange thing happens: he begins to experience rainbow mythologies first hand, but the line between fact and fiction soon blur together. Eugene’s odyssey becomes more and more dangerous, but he forges ahead, taking the challenges head on. The Rainbow Kid is a story of growth, coming of age, and most of all, hope.
Apart from making what we believe will be a kick ass movie, we’re also trying to create an awareness of the lack of films and TV that use actors with special needs. It’s rare and it shouldn’t be this way because there are a lot of talented actors who just happen to have a disability.
When more mainstream films showcase actors with special needs they tend to do it with kid gloves, but I’m not interested in that. I want to break down barriers. I want to make audiences see the special needs community in a different way. Some people are going to find the film’s content disturbing, and some might even be wary that an actor with Down syndrome can carry a film. I want to prove them wrong. By showing people with special needs persevering in situations that would be tough for “normal” people, we’re helping break down those barriers surrounding the expectations or assumptions as to what a person with special needs should say, how they should act, or what they can and can’t accomplish. Everyone struggles, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone makes decisions they regret – even people with special needs.”
– Kire Paputts
“I was engaged and invested from the first frame. Dylan Harman gave a beautiful performance in the lead role of Eugene. The director and actors approached this potentially tricky take on the standard coming of age story with finesse and care. Though gritty at times, it’s touching and poignant.” ~Jill Fischer (judge)
“This is a wonderful, clever film on many levels. Not only is it beautiful to watch, but the immense connection you feel with the main character is rare and powerful. The story is also subtle enough that it has a lot of impact throughout and culminates into a crystal clear critique of man’s ambition and its folly.” ~Amanda Hauman (judge)