Comedy Against the Odds to Screen at AmDocs Film Festival

February 1, 2024 – Shine Global is thrilled to announce the premiere of the heartwarming documentary short film, “Comedy Against the Odds” at the prestigious AmDocs Film Festival in March. This compelling film introduces audiences to the remarkable 10-year-old Austin, a budding stand-up comedian with Autism.

Directed by 6-time Daytime Emmy Award winning Latina director/producer Suzanne Luna, this short documentary spotlights the struggle of growing up with labels, and how Austin uses comedy to embrace and overcome them, offering a heartfelt portrayal that will resonate with audiences of all ages. “Comedy Against the Odds” takes a poignant look at how humor becomes a powerful tool for self-expression and a means of breaking down societal stereotypes. Austin’s journey not only challenges preconceived notions about being on the spectrum but also highlights the universal power of laughter to bridge gaps and foster understanding.

“We all struggle with one thing or another, but we may not be able to see someone’s struggles on the surface,” said Austin’s comedy coach and the film’s Executive Producer Corey Martin Craig. “As a kid, I was diagnosed with ADHD, Tourette’s, and OCD, and I thought I had no choice but to live with these labels for the rest of my life — my future had been decided. That is until I had my own comedy awakening and used comedy to turn my life around and redefine myself.”

The film’s producer and Shine Global co-founder Albie Hecht said, “We are honored to premiere ‘Comedy Against the Odds’ at the AmDocs Film Festival. Austin’s story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the transformative power of comedy. We hope this documentary sparks conversations about inclusivity and encourages everyone to embrace the uniqueness within us all.”

Autism affects an estimated 1 in 36 children in the U.S. according to the CDC, and Shine Global aims to use the film to raise awareness about the needs of children on the spectrum and as a catalyst for discussion and change, with a special focus on increasing understanding and acceptance of those with Autism so they can thrive and increasing both investment in and access to arts education opportunities for children on the spectrum.

The premiere at the AmDocs Film Festival promises to be a memorable event, providing attendees with an opportunity to connect with Austin’s story on a personal level. The documentary aims to leave a lasting impact on viewers by amplifying the laughs, making them not only bigger but also more inspired.

Join us for an unforgettable cinematic experience as we celebrate the premiere of “Comedy Against the Odds” at the AmDocs Film Festival on Saturday, March 23 at 4:30pm. The film is screening as part of Program 27 with three other short films.

Program 27
Saturday, March 23, 4:30pm
Camelot Theatres at Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 E. Baristo Road
Theatre 2


About Shine Global

Shine Global is a non-profit media company with the mission to improve children’s lives by telling powerful stories that raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about underserved children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on Capitol Hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Since our founding in 2005, Shine Global films have won more than 100 major awards, including an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject for Inocente and an Academy Award®-nomination and two Emmys® for War/Dance. Recent films include the documentary-animation hybrid Liyana, the hit documentary The Eagle Huntress, Through Our Eyes: Homefront which is available on Max, and Home Is Somewhere Else, which is currently in festivals.


This annual event recognizes and celebrates the films and filmmakers that highlight the resilience and strength of children in the face of adversity. The awards are open to films of any genre that showcase children overcoming challenges, such as poverty, violence, illness, and discrimination, and demonstrate their resilience, courage, and determination.