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LARA - A Documentary about Special Needs in the Philippines


LARA (formerly Unheard Silence) is a documentary about the life of a child with autism-like traits from a rural parts of the Cebu.

₱50,000.00 funding goal
19 backers
100% funded

LARA (formerly Unheard Silence) is a 45-minute documentary about the life of a child with autism-like traits from a province in the Philippines and her struggles against a lack of resources and funding.


The documentary is named after the real Lara, who is a child from the northern part of the Cebu province who struggles to grasp basic concepts and understanding the lessons taught to her in school. Teacher Lanie, the third grade teacher from her district, used to work in a school that integrates special children in their class and she noticed that Lara is exhibiting similar traits. Unfortunately, teacher Lanie is not qualified to diagnose or determine Lara's needs. But her concern for Lara's well-being encouraged her to reach out to her parents to see if they would consider having Lara get checked to see if she's qualified to transfer to a special education class.

This documentary will follow their story to see how able she is to get into the program and the struggles she faces along the way. With interviews and insights from people who have worked with Filipino children with special needs, the documentary will share viable solutions to make these processes easier for these children and their family. These will come from Dr. Borromeo from the Autism Hearts Foundation, who is an active participant in giving Filipino children personalized therapy that suits their interests and skills, and Teacher Bea, who is an occupational therapist who has worked in Bantayan and has insight on how to encourage and help other therapists go to these places far from the cities.

This project aims to spread awareness about these struggles and possible solutions.

About the Problem

In the provincial parts of the Philippines, there is an absence of knowledge about autism and other types of disabilities as well as a deficit in access to proper resources and channels to properly support persons with disabilities with therapies and special education.

Since there are no Developmental Pediatricians in the provinces, many children exhibiting characteristics typically associated with autism (or with “autistic traits”) never end up getting diagnosed. In addition, there is a stereotype that believes that the adults in their life tend to shrug off their behavior as bugo, abnormal, way disiplina, and so on. However, this may not be the case anymore thanks to exposure to information about these disabilities from the internet and social media.

Documentary Objectives

The documentary aims to take the viewers on an immersive journey about Lara and her family's experience getting the kind of education that she needs. As such, the primary objectives of this project are the following: 

  • Raise awareness of the struggles these children and their families face. Bringing up a child with disabilities is 80% more expensive than raising a child without special needs. This is extra challenging for lower-income families that live far from major cities. In addition, the lack of awareness and knowledge about special needs in the province adds to discrimination and the lack of support these children and their families receive. 

  • Advocate for support for these children and their families. Being far from major cities, there is little access to specialists. The documentary aims to encourage people to advocate for resource allocation and donations that would help build facilities that would encourage doctors and specialists to go to that area and help those struggling with these disabilities.

  • Fostering understanding of disabilities. A lot of the discrimination faced by these children and their families comes not from a place of hate but from a place of misunderstanding. If they are more aware of what these disabilities are and the struggles they are facing, they would hopefully drop the stigmas they hold and be more compassionate.

  • Encourage change in the community as a whole. With all the previous goals in mind, the ultimate goal is to foster change in their community so these children and their families will have the support they need.


Creative Personnel

Julian Maiz
Writer | Director | Producer | Portfolio: www.julianmaiz.com 

  • Julian is a recent graduate from Ateneo de Manila University and has made several award-winning short films as a student. He has worked under several student organizations as a video archivist and videographer but has most notably worked on documentaries for The GUIDON and AGILA. Having a younger brother with special needs, Julian is passionate about telling stories that bring light to the struggles children like his brother face as his advocacy.

Adrian Rafael Limpin
Narrative Consultant | Graphic Designer

  • Adrian is a first year med student in FEU who graduated from BS Medical Technology in CEU. His ultimate goal is to be a doctor ng bario, or someone who serves the underserved. Coming from a difficult background, Adrian has a soft spot for people in need. As such, it is his advocacy to do whatever he can to help those who struggle just like he did.

Alvin Tan Jr.
Translator | Production Assistant

  • Alvin is currently a  MedTech intern at Velez College in Cebu, with a diverse skill set in the arts. In addition to entering the medical industry, he intends to be an artist through music, video, mixed media-product production, and other mediums. He is fluent in both Bisaya and English thanks to his upbringing in Leyte and from receiving a good education.

Adean Cabahug
Editor | Colorist |  Portfolio: www.adeancabahug.com 

  • Adean is an optimistic and reliable video content creator with more than two years of professional and freelance experience in content creation. He specializes in producing and creating engaging video content for various platforms on social media, television, and film advertisements.

Alonzo Morales
Graphic Designer | Portfolio: sites.google.com/view/alonzomorales/portfolio

  • Alonzo is a passionate and diligent artist who loves to create art, whether it tells a story or defines the subject matter's characteristics. As a graduate from Film & Media Art International Academy with a certificate in 3D animation from NCIII and three years of freelancing experience, he is eager to collaborate and work on projects where he can utilize his skills and passions.

The list of creative personel may change depending on their availability and amount of total donations by the end of the fundraiser.

Distribution and Publishing

For 15 months, LARA will go through a film festival cycle. Having a director who has already made a film that was an official selection for festivals in the Philippines such as Binisaya Shorts, All Asian Independent Film Festival, and Cebu International Film Festival; priority will be given to submitting this film to those festivals. As for any additional festivals, priority will be given to those found inside the Philippines.

After the festival cycle, the documentary will be published on streaming sites such as Viddsee and Facebook with the help of Autism Hearts Foundation to increase the reach of the film to as wide of an audience as possible.

Director’s Prior Work

The Director, Julian Maiz, has worked on many award-winning student short films such as Runaway (2018) and The Misfit (2022) as well as a self-produced documentary about the feline wildlife in the ADMU campus. In addition, he has worked on several short documentaries under the student publication The Guidon, which tackle both events and historical topics.

Director’s Portfolio: www.julianmaiz.com

Name Date
Stan 25 August, 2023
Peter 29 August, 2023
JP 29 August, 2023
Dominick 29 August, 2023
Anton 29 August, 2023
Maria 29 August, 2023
Anonymous 29 August, 2023
Sergei 30 August, 2023
Alonzo Morales 31 August, 2023
Patch Dulay 12 September, 2023
Dr. F. Vergara 13 September, 2023
Niño 6 October, 2023
Niño 6 October, 2023
Katrina 6 October, 2023
Anonymous 6 October, 2023
Matthew 9 October, 2023
Kyle 10 October, 2023
Basil 11 October, 2023
Anonymous 11 October, 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

The documentary focuses on the life of Lara, a child struggling with an undiagnosed learning disability in a rural town of Cebu. While the documentary will only show her and her family's struggles, it aims to bring light to the struggles of children like her as a whole.
The donations will go to transportation, lodging, renting additional equipment, and hiring additional crew members. While most of what will be used are my own equipment and most of the people involved are volunteers, we need a bit more help if we want to tell this story and give it justice.
This film (and any film with a strong message) is political in nature. By political, I mean that this film makes arguements about the status quo and pushes for change. To me, this is the kind of "political" I want this film to be. I do not want it to be used as a tool for campaigning or for self promotion by the wrong kinds of people.

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