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
IDA Awards, Nomination – Best Feature, 2020
IDA Awards, Nomination – Best Director, 2020
British Independent Film Awards, Nomination – Best Documentary, 2020
British Independent Film Awards, Nomination – Best Sound, 2020
British Independent Film Awards, Nomination – Best Music, 2020
Critics Choice Awards, Nomination – Best Cinematography, 2020
Maysles Brothers Award for Best Feature Documentary, Denver Film Festival, 2020
Vancouver International Film Festival, Impact Award, 2020
Vancouver International Film Festival, Audience Award – International Documentary, 2020
Atmosphere Film Festival, Audience Award, 2020
Seminici Film Festival, Second Prize – Time of History, 2020
Rome Film Festival, Social Critic Award – Best Foreign Film, 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