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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — Their work is still so new crew members don’t need much coaxing to sit down and watch the short film they all spent a year creating.

From the beginning ‘Even In Death’ feels different.

Silent except for sound effects, it centers on a little boy and his strange experiences surrounding the death of his grandmother.

“We had the original idea of making a short film,” says director Zak Davis.

The artists, animators, and sound effects people were all from Oklahoma.

But this collection of film makers is made unique because the majority, including Sarah Lauffenburger and john Ross, exist somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.

Ross says, “It was pretty much an adventure. You could call it that.”

A unique film required a unique space.

The center for Autism Oklahoma is also home to Invisible Layers Productions.

Students here came up with the idea for making a movie.

The organization simply followed their lead.

Autism Oklahoma Executive Director Melinda Lauffenburger says, “We are all about giving opportunities for people with autism that they are never able to experience.”

Director of Community Impact Stacey Weddington says, “The vibe of this place and the things that happen in here are creative and really, truly boundless.”

Lead artists Jonathan Koelsch and Jerry Bennett had never made an animated film before, let alone work with such a unique crew.

The learning curve was steep the hours long, the deadline crazy, but they did it.

“The result was really phenomenal,” says Jerry Bennett.

Director Davis still gets lost in all the layers of digital paint, the key frames, and audio channels for sound effects.

Those details were perfect for his assistants.

“That is the way the light should fall on that chair, or that is the way the character should move,” he offers.

Autism Oklahoma Director Melinda Lauffenburger knows people with autism are often underestimated.

From ‘Even In Death’ their talent is on full display, a kind of window into creative minds that see things through a different filter.

‘Even In Death’ will screen at the Dead Center Film Festival both Friday, June 10 and Saturday June 11.

A special première is scheduled for June 24th at the OCCC Auditorium.

For more information on the Dead Center Film Festival including schedules go to

For more information about Autism Oklahoma and the official premier of their new film go to