Rocco Up

OCOpen Caption screening
Additional program content
SFSensory Friendly. Details HERE

There are no showtimes currently scheduled for this film.

Rocco Up

Rocco is autistic, and he has always loved being in the ocean. Over the years, he develops confidence, grace, and remarkable balance on his surfboard. Challenges persist, but triumphs abound. Rocco Up is a true tale of limitless family love, the stoke of community support, and the neuroscience behind our enchantment with water. Rocco Up will lift your spirits.

Join us for a screening of this impactful short documentary, followed by a conversation with the film team and local organizations about autism and families, and a reception in the Jane Peck Gallery.

* This will be a Sensory Friendly Screening, which caters to the needs of individuals who may find traditional moviegoing overwhelming.

**Live ASL Interpretation provided by Sign Language Resources will be provided for the intro and Q&A

Presented in partnership with The Nicholas Center, BluePath Service Dogs, and Pleasantville SEPTA.


Q&A with director John Madere, editor and writer Ruth Mamaril, Rocco's parents Sara and Ben Intonato, and Nicholas Center Director Dave Kaufstein moderated by Sarah Kernion
Tuesday, Apr. 16 2024, 7:00
This event is over. View all of our upcoming events.

  • Sara Intonato, Rocco’s mom, has established a neurodiversity consultancy to help other parents with special needs children. She offers guidance for everyday scenarios, and also advises for the longer term, from cultivating a support system within the community to advocating with institutions and legislators.
  • Ben Intonato, Rocco’s dad, continues to take his son surfing almost every day. Rocco has become more adept at turning the board by himself. He’s learning the very basics of paddling on his own. The next frontier will be paddling into a wave by himself. Due to the inspiration from his journey with Rocco and the calling to help people all over the world , he has develop the “NATURE, PRESENCE, LOVE” formula: a program that takes the magical journey of the Rocco Up film and makes it applicable to anyone, anywhere.
  • John Madere is an award-winning photographer and documentary filmmaker. His approach to directing documentaries is informed by his experience photographing people all over the world, from every walk of life. John’s spontaneous film interviews can draw out authentic, sometimes intensely personal, impressions. He comments, “Of course, while I’m filming, I don’t get to simply enjoy the moment—I want to capture the moment. I’m concentrating on the technical and aesthetic aspects in the frame.” John’s 2012 short documentary Montauk features 20 people expressing what they love about Montauk and what it means to them. An official selection of the New York Surf Film Festival that year, it also won Best Documentary at the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival in 2013. John doesn’t consider himself an accomplished surfer, but he is passionate about riding the waves wherever he finds them. Pre-pandemic, he completed a seven-week ’round-the-world photography assignment. Eleven cities on six continents later, photography and filmmaking for his clients and his art remain John’s primary obsession.
  • Ruth Mamaril is a freelance film and video editor specializing in short format projects, including documentary-style pieces and commercials. Born in LA and now based in New York, she has worked in post-production for more than 25 years and has edited around the globe, from New Zealand to Japan. Ruth took her first surf lesson in Costa Rica, at the age of 38. Working on Rocco Up combined Ruth’s passions for film editing, surfing, and autism education. Her younger brother is autistic, and when he was growing up, people didn’t know much about autism. Ruth was fiercely protective of Jason and proud of his accomplishments. She comments, “I was, and still am, in awe of our parents’ commitment to Jason. I wish there had been surf programs for him when he was younger.” Ruth has fused her editing expertise and surf nerdiness on various projects and has volunteered for several surf organizations as an editor, photographer, event coordinator, and participant.
  • Sarah Kernion is a global keynote speaker , dedicated neurodiversity advocate, accomplished writer, and, above all, a devoted mother to three beautiful children, two of whom have non-speaking autism. With her powerful and inspiring talks, she challenges the conventional approach to developmental milestones, advocating for an "INCHSTONE" mentality. This approach emphasizes celebrating small victories and atypical growth, as well as recognizing and leveraging the unique superpowers of autistic individuals. Sarah's work encourages parents, companies, and professionals across various sectors to embrace and support the neurodiversity movement, making a significant impact on how autism is perceived and supported worldwide.
  • David Kaufstein serves as Program Director for The Nicholas Center (TNC) in Pleasantville, NY - a Human Service Agency that creates innovative programs and services that allow Autistic individuals to learn, live and work in the community. He holds a Masters Degree in Science in Education and has worked as an educator in New York State for two decades. Using his knowledge and expertise in the field of education, he created The Nicholas Center's Learning and Social Development Program. Building upon the foundations already established with the Community Inclusion and Vocational Support Programs, The Learning and Social Development Program serves as one of The Nicholas Center's Pillars of Support, elevating the way neurodiverse individuals learn, live and work. David ensures that TNC programming implements differential instruction and provides meaningful programming for all types of learners. He believes that delivering quality support for a neurodiverse population can lead to successful learning experiences, vocational opportunities and community stewardship projects.

This film is part of the Community Matters: Now More Than Ever series.

Coming Soon


Opens 4/26

Evil Does Not Exist

Opens 5/17

I Saw the TV Glow

Opens 5/17

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