From Connie Cocchia — the author, director, and producer behind the shorts Awake and The Art of Being Fine — comes the full-length feature film When Time Got Louder. The coming-of-age drama premiered in Canada in 2022 but will likely be released in U.S. theaters on November 17, 2023. The film follows Abbie Peterson, who departs for school, abandoning her brother who has autism and is non-verbal. As she explores her autonomy and sexuality, she is torn between her recent life and independence and her love for her brother — who has relied on her for the reason that starting. And, in her absence, struggles emotionally.
The trailer opens with a beeping electrocardiogram and pulse oximeter on a patient’s finger before a physician begins to query an adolescent Abbie (Willow Shields), asking how her absence can have impacted her brother Kayden (Jonathan Simao), leading to his current predicament. As any teenager would, she reads this as blame — blame for leading her own life. Blame for stepping out of her bubble and into the world, as any teenager yearns to do.
The trailer then turns back the clock. Abbie opens an acceptance letter to varsity, and it’s time for her to “go away for a bit.” While her parents want what’s best for Abbie, they’re fearful about Kayden, for “Abbie is the one friend he’s ever had,” as his father (Lochlyn Munro) notes. As Abbie goes to parties and lives the school experience, failing to select up the phone on command, Kayden grows irritable and inconsolable. As the trailer progresses, Abbie comes into her own as her family fights to tread water back at home. The trailer then suggests that the family may lose Kayden consequently of neglect when the necessity to file a direct police report surfaces. Abbie notes she never must have left, yet asserts that nobody will ever be there for her brother greater than her…and the trailer involves a heartwrenching close.
It’s clear that When Time Got Louder will likely be a story about family, resiliency, dependency, growing up, and more that will just leave you torn and tattered. So, is it based on a real story? What inspired the film from Cocchia?
The inspiration behind ‘When Time Got Louder’
Connie Cocchia is a queer individual whose works are inclined to highlight the LGBTQ+ experience, and she or he has a brother with autism. Thus, this film is near home, however the narrative at play is certainly fictitious. In an interview, she explained:
“Yeah, well, myself, being queer and having a brother on the autism spectrum was, in fact, a big driving force behind why I desired to make this ﬁlm. But it’s a ﬁctitious story. There’s something very traumatic that happens to Kayden in our ﬁlm, but that luckily has not happened to my family. So most of the elements within the story, by way of what happens to this family, are ﬁctitious. However, in fact, it’s drawn upon my very own experiences.”
As North Shore News reports, it was necessary to Cocchia that the film feel authentic, especially regarding the depiction of autism. She shared:
“Typically in other media when representing a personality with autism they’re portrayed as gifted individuals, and while that’s not inaccurate it’s only a representation of a small minority of people on the spectrum…”
Kayden is only a boy in his senior yr of highschool who resides with autism. The film doesn’t attempt to glamorize or sensationalize the situation, but relatively simply depicts his life, and the way living with autism impacts his experiences on this planet. It was also very necessary to Cocchia to forged Simao to retain authenticity, as he’s an actor who lives with autism. She shared, “It was absolutely crucial to me, it was something that was a non-negotiable.”
Based on the trailer alone, it’s evident that this film goals to ring a bell with those that share unbreakable sibling bonds, in addition to families living with individuals on the autism spectrum.
When Time Got Louder premieres in US theaters on November 17, 2023.