LIFE IN STRIDES

A short documentary film about a young man with autism taking the next step in his horseback riding career

ABOUT THE FILM


Thank you for visiting our site. We'd love to tell you more about our short documentary Life in Strides and share with you our journey in making this film. 

This past May, seven of us came together to work on our final film project, the culmination of a six-month intensive documentary filmmaking program at George Washington University’s Documentary Center. The program was led by Emmy Award-winner Nina Seavey, a 30-year veteran documentarian. Our team consisted of amateur filmmakers, four women and three men, who came from different backgrounds, each contributing a unique perspective on filmmaking. Our common thread was a passion for storytelling.

With only two months to produce a short documentary, we confronted many challenges during the filmmaking process, including limited resources and the difficulty of working with horses. However, we were deeply inspired by our subjects, Jake and Joanne Luoma, and were continually motivated to do their story justice.

Life in Strides explores the powerful mother-son relationship between Joanne and Jake.

Jake, a young man with autism, faced many naysayers throughout his life. Joanne was told Jake would never be able to speak, graduate, get a job, or live a fulfilling life. Through perseverance and never-ending hope, Jake has not only done all of those things, but has also become a champion in therapeutic horseback riding, as demonstrated by the countless ribbons he has collected over a 16-year riding career. However, Jake still faces challenges with new situations. This film follows Jake as he participates in his first non-therapeutic horseback riding competition among the general public. As Jake’s number one supporter, Joanne fears that the stress of a new, more difficult competition can cause Jake to have a meltdown.

Life In Strides examines the profound impact of a mother’s love for her child, but also raises awareness about autism and therapeutic horseback riding. Our film also explores the themes of hope, perseverance, and human resilience. We hope to share this uplifting story with audiences across the globe. 

 

-The Life in Strides Team

 
 Official Selection, Alexandria Film Festival, 2017

Official Selection, Alexandria Film Festival, 2017

 Winner- Best Editing, Austin Under the Stars Film Festival 2017

Winner- Best Editing, Austin Under the Stars Film Festival 2017

 Audience Award - Best Student Film, Awareness Festival (Los Angeles) 2017

Audience Award - Best Student Film, Awareness Festival (Los Angeles) 2017

 Award of Merit, Best Shorts Competition

Award of Merit, Best Shorts Competition

 Winner, Best Student Short, 10th Annual Chesapeake Film Festival 2017

Winner, Best Student Short, 10th Annual Chesapeake Film Festival 2017

 Official Selection, SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, 2018

Official Selection, SR Socially Relevant Film Festival, 2018

 
 Official Selection, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, 2018

Official Selection, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, 2018