New documentary shines a light on living with Asperger’s and depression

by Padraig Conlon

A documentary coming to Dublin cinemas next week sees its filmmaker turn the camera on himself.

This Is Nicholas — Living with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a powerful, moving film in which former Ballyfermot College student Nicholas Ryan-Purcell shares his experience of living with Asperger’s and depression.

Talking to Dublin Gazette, he said: “I want my film to show people that there is hope, there is a way through obstacles in life.

“I am deeply moved by the response to the film so far from people all over Ireland; the most joy I’ve got from this is the positive impact it has had on so many people.”

The documentary, which Nicholas produced, shot and edited himself, took a year and a half to complete.

The Tipperary man is full of praise for Ballyfermot College from where he graduated in 2012 with a Higher National Diploma in Television Operations and Production.

He said: “I learned all about film-making there – what a fantastic college it is. All the staff helped me so much; it’s such a small, tight-knit community [there], where everyone helps each other.”

After leaving Ballyfermot, Nicholas set up his own company producing corporate videos which led to him producing some award-winning films.

In 2016 he received great praise for his debut documentary, Against the Odds, which tells the life story of the champion racehorse Lord Byron and also won him two awards at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.

Last October, This is Nicholas was premiered at the NYC Mental Health Film Festival in Manhattan.

This week, Dublin audiences in Santry and Tallaght will get to see it for the first time, with Nicholas adding: “I’m so thankful to IMC for putting my film into 11 of their cinemas around the county.

“I think it’s fantastic they’re helping to educate and raise awareness of autism in all these regions.”

This is Nicholas screens in IMC Santry on Tuesday, Feb 26 at 4.45pm and 8.45pm, and at IMC Tallaght on Thursday, February 28 at 6.45pm and 8.45pm.

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