Q&A by the Rauch Brothers

Q&A is an affectionate little short that debuted last year but was posted online just yesterday. It’s directed by the Brooklyn-based Rauch Brothers, which is headed by brothers Mike and Tim (who animated the film single-handedly):

Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mother, Sarah. Joshua’s unique questions and Sarah’s loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best–and the most challenging–parts of being a parent.

The brothers Rauch are busy working on more animated collaborations with Storycorps, the American oral history project that airs weekly on NPR. A series of five new animated shorts based on Storycorps recordings will debut on the PBS documentary program POV in August 2010.


  • http://www.mbarquero.com mbarq

    Ah! Can’t wait for this on PBS, love these type of commentary animated short stories, reminds me of the Canemaker film I saw at South Beach International Film Festival…also of Aardman :)

    Argh…wish I’d gotten in the Storycorps truck at school.

  • Emily

    Incredibly sweet. I enjoyed it very much.

  • http://www.toonhole.com Chris Allison

    Totally awesome. Great job, Rauch bros! I would kill for a gig like this.

  • http://mayersononanimation.blogspot.com Mark Mayerson

    That was a wonderful film.

  • http://Robertdress.Blogspot.com R.Dress

    Great piece! Looking forward to seeing POV in Aug.

  • http://tresswygert.blogspot.com Tres Swygert

    Awesome storytelling! As well as just a life lesson that no matter what, being unique is something we should cherish. And to also cherish the ones we love the most (who loves us just as much).

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

    Outstanding. What I wouldn’t give to work on projects like this when I’m finished with school.

  • http://www.stephenneary.blogspot.com pizzaforeveryone

    yo way to go bros. i will send this to my mom. she will probably cry.

  • http://jaggedsmile.wordpress.com jaggedsmile

    Simply beautiful.

  • Artisticulated

    As an adult with Aspergers I could relate to Joshua. I hope you all understand that his probing and borderline-appropriate questions were simply born out of his desire to understand the world around him. I still get into difficulties with people for asking questions like that.

    I’d also like to point out that he kept interrupting his mother as soon as he had received enough info to process and move forward. Any more words would start to be confusing.

    Overall a wonderful little piece. Thanks for posting this.

  • Hulk

    Wonderful interview and a wonderful film. I’m wondering though: Why does the kid talk in a Brittish accent? Is that an asperger thing or are they an American family living in England?

    Amid do you know? Is it something the film makers address at all?

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    Reminds me of Jerry Beck.

  • http://rauchbrothers.com Mike Rauch

    @Hulk, he was born in the UK to an American mother and moved back to the U.S. around the age of 5. As I understand it, the Aspergers has caused him to keep the British accent.

  • http://crisafullidoodles.blogspot.com/ Marc Crisafulli

    Animation so reliant on dialogue can often seem stilted or boring, but that’s hardly the case here. Wonderful attention paid to the subtle nuances in the voices. These characters really look like they’re really thinking, not just snapping from one pose to the next.

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    Hulk -

    Good question about Joshua’s accent.

    Joshua lived in Dorset, England until the age of 6. Though he now lives in Connecticut, he has not lost his British accent, something that his mother attributes to Asperger’s. It goes along with all of the other difficulties people like Joshua have adapting to new people and social situations.

    Thanks to all for the positive comments. It was a wonderful experience to be entrusted with this intimate conversation. We are currently working on seven new StoryCorps films which will air on PBS and subsequently released via the web. Hopefully you enjoy watching them as much as we do making them.

  • Brian

    I’m a teenager with Asperger’s, so I also identified with Josh. Around his age, I had a lot of the same questions, and even some of the same habits- I picked up a British accent from watching Monty Python as a kid, and for several years I’d subconsciously start using it. I still sometimes use the accents for fun, although now it’s more of a John Lennon than a John Cleese. Great cute short, hope to see more in the series.

  • Warhead

    As somebody born with Asperger’s, I really identify with him and the problems he faces. I have few good friends, instead of a metric ton of useless ones. I also have a few admitted obsessions, including animation. Heck, my life has an eerie resemblance to his.

    On, the film itself, this was wonderful. Finally, a positive attitude on autism!

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    I think it’s a pretty good short film. My quibble, though, is that there doesn’t seem to be any inbetweens. I think the key drawings themselves looks great, but the choppy movement is throwing me off.

  • Shawn Jackson

    “Well I am the one that made you a parent.”

    Beautiful.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Charles – Go look at a whole bunch of animation and you’ll see this is animated beautifully (and certain scenes are cleaned up with particular style and flair) and isn’t missing a single drawing.

  • http://cookiebite.blogspot.com Tali

    It’s great to see more representations of aspies on film, and i hope this will increase the general public’s awareness of the syndrome.

    “I am the one that made you a parent.”
    what a great observation :)
    most kids don’t even think about it that way.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I think given the circumstances, the animation isn’t a deterrent to the message this film is giving. I sorta wonder if I had/have Asperger syndrome too, since I remember having certain interests at that age but found it difficult in being social or sharing with others since I felt so different from others, especially with art.

  • w

    SO amazing. Story Corps is an absolutely stunning project, and the Rauch brothers are adding to it immensely with these animations. I wish we had something like these projects in every country so we could trade these stories on an individual level as well as an international one.

  • http://schumacherstefan.com/ stefan

    Really really great! Very moving and sweet

  • http://www.tastyhand.com David Sheahan

    These are all going to trick out our eyeballs!

  • Daniel Shock

    I love this so much! I showed my wife and daughters, age 10 and 7, last night. They were very touched. I wonder how the experience would be different just watching a video of the interview. The animation really highlights and enhances the impact. Great stuff, and can’t wait for more!

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Is there any place I can go to read a transcript of the dialogue? I’m losing my hearing and couldn’t hear all of it clearly.

  • Gummo

    That was beautiful, sweet and very entertaining.

  • http://rauchbrothers.com Mike Rauch

    @Daniel J. Drazen: Sorry. I think there was supposed to be closed captioning on the Youtube version, but I can’t get it to work. Anyway, a transcript of the dialogue is available here.

  • Ben K.

    I really loved this. Can’t wait to see the rest of them! Animation based on interviews with children always just seems to click.

  • Carla Veldman

    This is very good, and I’m so glad more of it is being made. I have a cousin who has asperger’s and I think this film touched wonderfully (with both a very realistic/honest and uplifting view) on some of the things he deals with.

  • mac

    I’m not knocking the animation (truth:the closing credits are superb!)but this is an audio track that doesn’t need anything more than your ears. Even written down,the inflections would be lost,the editing and the way that Joshua just gets in Mom’s face with love and questions(the many comments about the British accents also make the audio part so important)prove that the beauty is here between mother and child. Savor the sound and the silence between. A wise mother and a wise child,who are raising each other. Hats off to Storycorps. Truly,this is why we celebrate Mothers this weekend,and hopefully,everyday.

  • http://www.rauchbrothers.com Tim Rauch

    Mac – Couldn’t agree with you more about the beauty of the conversation by itself. The audio pieces StoryCorps produce are often pure gold. Of course, we hope to add a dimension of beauty ourselves, but I would encourage people who’ve enjoyed this to listen to more stories at

    http://www.storycorps.org/listen

  • Mac

    To Tim(and others may want to read to further this discussion): So nice to see the makers of this piece spend so much attention to comments here. You are well aware that visitors to this site are passionate about their…cartoons and opinions here count. And I am also passionate about the audio arts,which is where I’m coming from. My benchmarks for the audio arts are Bob & Ray. Years ago,their on-air bits were put into book form and became bestsellers. It was like trying to drink water from a book. The magic came from great writing,those wonderful voices,some cheap sound effects and an organ sting . The book only had the writing.
    I emailed this piece to my adult son(another animation buff,due to my influence,no doubt)to let him know how his Mom feels about him since the moment he was born.And,thankfully,the animated version of this dialogue will reach a wider audience and that is a great thing. And probably(this is important to my wife and her hearing disability as well as others) when it airs on PBS, it will be closed captioned,to include nearly everyone who invests four minutes of their time with a great reward. Time well spent,thanks to Tim,Mike and Co. And,along the same lines of audio gold,check out This American Life,Harry Shearer’s Le Show and any work done by the Kitchen Sisters,especially their Lost & Found Sound series with Jay Allison.

  • http://www.nancymucklow.com Nancy

    This was beautiful. thank you.

  • Sally P

    Thank you. A clear view of Aspergers and how it affects the family. Beautifully done and what a great mum and son!