My new film ‘The Reason I Jump’ launched at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for World Documentary.

Based on the best-selling book by Naoki Higashida, THE REASON I JUMP is an immersive film exploring the experiences of nonspeaking autistic people from around the world.

The film blends Higashida’s revelatory insights into autism, written when he was just 13, with intimate portraits of five remarkable young people. It opens a window for audiences into an intense and overwhelming, but often joyful, sensory universe.

Moments in the lives of each of the characters are linked by the journey of young Japanese boy through an epic landscape; narrated passages from Naoki’s writing reflect on what his autism means to him and others, how his perception of the world differs, and why he acts in the way he does: the reason he jumps.

The film distils these elements into a sensually rich tapestry that leads us to Naoki’s core message: not being able to speak does not mean there is nothing to say.


Sundance Film Festival, World Documentary Audience Award, 2020
British Independent Film Awards, Winner – Best Documentary, 2020
British Independent Film Awards, Winner – Best Sound, 2020
Maysles Brothers Award for Best Feature Documentary, Denver Film Festival, 2020
Vancouver International Film Festival, Audience Award – International Documentary, 2020
Vancouver International Film Festival, Impact Award, 2020
MPSE Golden Reel Awards, Winner – Feature Documentary Sound Editing, 2021
Sound Of The Year Awards – Best Sound in a TV Show, Film or Game, 2020
IDA Awards, Nomination – Best Feature, 2020
IDA Awards, Nomination – Best Director, 2020
Atmosphere Film Festival, Audience Award, 2020
Dublin International Film Festival, Special Mention – Best Documentary Award, 2021
Festival Imagésanté (Belgium) – Prix ‘Nouveaux Horizons’, 2021
Seminici Film Festival, Second Prize – Time of History, 2020
Rome Film Festival, Social Critic Award – Best Foreign Film, 2020
Japan Foundation for Promoting Sound Growth of Children, Child Welfare Culture Award, 2021
British Independent Film Awards, Nomination – Best Music, 2020
ASCAP, Best Documentary Score, Nomination, 2021
Critics Choice Documentary Awards , Nomination – Best Cinematography, 2020
Cinema Eye Honours, Nomination – Best Score, 2020
Hot Docs Top Twenty Audience Favourite, 2020


enormously affecting – and revelatory… ‘The Reason I Jump’ will change how you think, and how many films can say that?”
                                                                          Screen Daily
elegant, luminous …A work of cinematic alchemy.”
                                                                          Hollywood Reporter


Director: Jerry Rothwell
Producers: Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow
Executive Producers: Stewart Le Maréchal, Jonny Persey , Peter Webber, Paul G. Allen, Rocky Collins, Jannat Gargi, Ruth Johnston, Carole Tomko, Lizzie Francke
Co-Executive Producer: Sara Edelson
Co-Producer: Sam Payne
Director of Photography: Ruben Woodin Dechamps
Sound Recordist: Sara De Oliveira Lima
Sound Designer: Nick Ryan
Editor: David Charap
Composer: Nainita Desai

2020  |  82’  |  UK/USA



November 12 International Science Film Festival, Nijmwegen, Netherlands


May 27-31 Breath of Fresh Air, Hobart, Australia

May 28, ReelAbilities Film Festival, Toronto, Canada

Mar 10-14 Dublin International Film Festival, Ireland

Mar 18 Brain Film Festival, Barcelona, Spain

April 7 Borderlines Film Festival, UK

Jan 7-10 Calgary International Film Festivals (Top Docs), Canada

Dec 4-23 Istanbul Film Festival IKSV, Turkey

Dec 3-15 2020 Solidarity Tel Aviv Human Rights Film Festival, Israel

Dec 3-7 2020 Hamptons Documentary Festival, USA

Nov 14-21 2020 Cameraimage Film Festival + Q&A, Poland

Nov 18 2020 Doha Film Institute Ajyal Film Festival + Q&A, UAE

Nov 11-29 2020 DocNYC + Q&A, USA

Nov 6-14 2020 Guelph Film Festival, Canada

Nov 6-10 2020 Free Zone Belgrade Human Rights FF, + Q&A Serbia

Nov 5-11 2020 Denver Film Festival, USA: WINNER – Maysles Award Best Documentary Feature

Oct 15-29 2020 Milwaukee Film Festival, USA

Oct 26-Nov 1 2020 ReelAbilities Film Festival NJ, USA

Oct 24 2020 Valladolid IFF – Semici, Spain

Oct 23 2020 Rome Film Festival, Italy: WINNER – Sorriso Diverso Award (Best Foreign Film)

Oct 16-22 2020 Montclair Film Festival, USA

Oct 16-25 2020 Tallgrass Film Festival, USA

Oct 14-25 2020 Chicago International Film Festival + Q&A, USA

Oct 15 2020 Silbersalz Science & Media Festival, Germany

Oct 9-17 2020 Hot Springs Doc Film Fest  + Q&A, USA

Oct 6-10 2020 Haifa International Film Festival + Q&A, Israel

Oct 9-10 2020 Brisbane International Film Festival, Australia

Oct 9 2020 London Film Festival  + Q&A

Oct 8-9 2020 Ashland Independent Film Festival, USA

Oct 8 2020 Bright Lights Film Series + Q&A, USA

Oct 1 2020 Academia Film Olomouc, Czech Republic

Sep 26-30 Docville, Belgium

Sep 24-Oct 9 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival, Canada: WINNER – Audience Award – International Documentary and Impact Award

Sep 23-Oct 4 2020 Athens International Film Festival, Greece

Sep 17-24 2020 DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

Sep 16-20 2020 Mammoth Lakes Film Festival

Sep 16-23 2020 Lemesos International Doc Festival

Sep 11-15 2020 Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival

Sep 4-13 2020 Millenium Against Gravity, Poland

Aug 7–25, 2020 Dokufest, Kosovo

Jun 17-21 2020 AFI Docs, USA

April 30-May 2020 Hot Docs, Canada

Mar 23-28 2020 CPH:DOX, Denmark

Mar 13-21 2020 SXSW Film Festival, USA

Mar 6-9 2020 One World Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic

Jan 23-Feb 3 2020 Sundance Film Festival: WINNER – Audience Award – International Documentary

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