Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

The Reason I Jump 2020

Directed by Jerry Rothwell

Taking as its inspiration the groundbreaking book of the same name by autistic thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida, this documentary attempts to present the world as it might be experienced by neuro-divergent individuals.

UK In English
84 minutes DCP




Jeremy Dear
Stevie Lee
Al Morrow


Ruben Woodin Dechamps


David Charap


Nanita Desai


London 2020


Audience Award (World Cinema Documentary)
Sundance Film Festival 2020


In attempting to synthesize the way autistic and neurodivergent people might experience the world, the ambitious documentary The Reason I Jump is, in many moments, a sensory, visually stimulating experience.

Fan blades whir, sunlight refracts through a window, gravel jumps up under moving tyres, all intricately captured by filmmaker Jerry Rothwell. Using the memoir of 13-year-old autistic boy Naoki Higashida as a jumping off point, the film is a mix of direct address from the book, interviews with family members of autistic children around the world, and observant, patient sequences following the children as they go about their days in areas as far flung as Britain, India, Japan and Sierra Leone.

Much as the original The Reason I Jump served as a vital bridge between two worlds of understanding, the film serves an approximation of this experience – the intensity of details, the overwhelming sensory palette of the outside world, the soothing repetition of reliable tics – in a warm, gentle, profoundly illuminating way. — Tom Augustine

The Reason I Jump points out the ways that centuries of misunderstanding about autism around the world hasn’t just hampered or even ruined the lives of autistic people – those misunderstandings have also impoverished human culture... A world in which someone who isn’t neurotypical can live successfully, understood and accepted by others, would be a better one. And films like The Reason I Jump, and the people profiled in it, are bringing the world closer to that point, a little at a time.” — Alissa Wilkinson, Vox