The Buzz About “Bumblebees”: Award-Winning Film Starring Teen with Autism

As participants in the 2015 Disability Film Challenge, Vance Kanell and his sister Jenna only had 48 hours to write, film, and edit a short romantic comedy. So Jenna, the director, decided to have her 19-year-old brother with autism do something entirely new to him: go on a date.

The date wasn’t the only thing that went well. The siblings’ short film, titled “Bumblebees,” also won the national contest!

The sweet film follows Vance as he paces nervously; turns to his cat Goldie for dating advice; tries on all sorts of different outfits to find the perfect one; and finally meets up with his date.

Ending on a note of wisdom, Vance says, “You don’t need to find somebody perfect or be somebody perfect. You just have to find another bumblebee to fly with.”

The concept of bumblebees comes from Vance’s own story. Doctors predicted he’d never walk, talk, read, or write; yet he learned to do all four of those things. That’s why his parents nicknamed him “Bumblebee,” because according to the laws of aerodynamics, the big, bulky, fuzzy critter should not be able to fly. “But nobody ever told him about aerodynamics,” Vance notes.

And like the bumblebee, Vance has beat all odds stacked against him. Well, actually, he’s gone even further than that; he’s become a star!

A huge congratulations to the Kanell siblings on their success! We hope to see more from you in the future.

Check out the award-winning video below!

Proper AUT autismsite_abovevideo
Proper AUT autismsite_belowcontent
A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.