UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — It’s a moving and entertaining love story. A bit like Annie Hall but starring non-professional actors with autism.
Keep The Change is about two people on the spectrum and their search for love.
The stars, 27-year-old Samantha Elisofon and 40-year-old Brandon Polansky, never dreamed they’d be starring in a critically acclaimed rom com. They are both in the Adaptations program at the Center for Special Needs at the Upper West Side JCC, where much of the movie takes place.
“I didn’t expect it, but it was definitely my major dream and fantasy. I am so proud to say that all these dreams came true,” Elisofon told PIX11.
“All this positive attention feeling like I’m somebody, like Steve Martin said in The Jerk, I’m somebody now,” Polansky said.
Keep The Change was written and directed by first time feature filmmaker Rachel Israel.
“I learned how to direct the film through getting to know the cast really well. There is no guidebook to what a person with autism is like. Every person is different. That was the pleasure of making this film, getting to know these amazing individuals,” she said.
It was a sold out crowd at opening night at the Quad Cinema in the Village, complete with the parents of the two stars who say they’ve seen the film perhaps 100 times.
“Every review is fabulous,” Carol Polansky, Brandon’s mother, told PIX11. “We are enjoying every minute."
“I couldn’t be more proud. I hope something more comes of it so it’s not just one shot," Samantha’s mother Marguerite said.
There is talk of developing a TV series with the same cast and the same message that the two stars hope they convey.
“We want the world to love us back as individuals,” Elisofon told PIX11.
Keep The Change is currently playing at The Quad Cinema in the West Village.