Ocean of hope for autism

Date Posted: 28 July 2010

Jet Li (L) struggles to find a good shelter for his autistic son, played by Wen Zhang.
28 Jul – "Ocean Heaven", a movie which opens island-wide on 5 August, is collaborating with St. Andrew's Autism Centre to organise a movie premiere to generate the level awareness for autism among Singaporeans. Starring Jet Li, "Ocean Heaven" tells the story of a terminally ill father who struggles to get his 22-year-old autistic son to be more independent before his looming demise.

In a recent press interview, Jet Li expressed that he will not receive any payment for the movie itself, having touched by the passion of first-time director Xue Xiaolu, who has been a volunteer for 14 years with Beijing Stars and Rain, a non-governmental educational organisation for autistic children. He has also roped in several internationally acclaimed crews like award-winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle ("Hero", "2046", "In The Mood For Love"), composer Joe Hisaishi ("Spirited Away", "Departures") and production designer Yee Chung Man ("Anna Magdalena", "Curse Of The Golden Flower").

Kwai Lun-Mei (L) befriends Wen Zhang as he frequently visits the aquarium.
Jet Li also disclosed that the actual reason why he took up this film was because of his experience with his autistic nephew. "I spent a lot of time talking to him, getting him to talk about almost everything, from geography to astronomy and even entertainment. So I can relate to my character in 'Ocean Heaven' very well."

Besides Jet Li, Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun-Mei also makes an appearance as an acrobat performer at the aquarium where Jet Li works. Taiwanese popular singer-composer Jay Chou also lends a hand by composing and performing the theme song to "Ocean Heaven" titled 'Said Goodbye'.

The movie premiere, sponsored by St. Andrews Autism Centre's well-wishers, will be held on 3 August 2010 at GV Grand (Great World City) in Singapore. Guests attending the screening include family members of children with autism, people from the film industry, etc.

"Ocean Heaven" makes a splash in Singapore on 5 August 2010. A Malaysian release has yet to be confirmed.

Writer: Goh Wen Xuan

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