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about the film

Credits | Fimmaker's Statement | About the Filmmaker


VOICE IN EXILE is an internationally acclaimed award-winning dramatic and archetypal film journey into the mind and emotions of Alan Woodward, a seventeen-year old stutterer, exploring the inner and outer trials, tribulations and fears that stutterer’s often endure. Because of Alan's stuttering, communicating the simplest idea is often impossible. Everywhere Alan goes he faces impatient people who do not understand his severe speech problem. At school, Alan faces snickers and stares that wound him. At night, the horrors of Alan's days invade his dreams, leaving him no peace in sleep. At home, Alan faces loving parents who share his frustration; yet, they are confused and often misguided in their efforts to help him overcome his stuttering. It is Alan's grandfather, a recently retired college professor, who seems to be the only one able to communicate with and help Alan embark on a journey of transformation that ultimately leads to the release of his imprisoned inner voice.

The writer/director of this powerful cinematic work, Mark Allan Kaplan, is himself a stutterer and this film is the culmination of Mark's deep personal quest to express the inner life of the stutterer through film. This quest for expression began with the writing of the script, during which Mark delved deeply into his own experiences and emotions as a stutter and tried to translate them into a dramatic story. The script was further developed with the additional input from interviews with other stutterers, while Mark worked with his committed cinematography, sound, and production design teams to translate the experiential reality of the stutterer into a visceral audiovisual language. Then Mark worked with the actor playing Alan, Ben Bottoms, on both the physical aspects of stuttering and the emotional underpinnings.

As a result of this passionate personal and collective effort, VOICE IN EXILE is a remarkably gripping film that touches viewers on many levels. On one level, it is about a young man's quest to conquer his stuttering. On another level, it is about the inner struggle of all those faced with physical and psychological challenges. On a broader and deeper level, the film speaks to all of us as it addresses a universal theme - the struggle to overcome one's legitimate and unfounded fears...fears that inhibit us, often with disastrous results.

Project Information

Title: Voice in Exile

Format: 16mm; Sound; Color.

Duration: 30 minutes

Featuring: Ben Bottoms, Jesse Ehrlich, Richard Sarradet, and Sarah Simmons.

Produced for: The American Film Institute, Los Angeles, California

Year: 1984

LC Control Number: 89706420 

CALL NUMBER: FBC 2336 (ref print)

Distribution: Original Gravity, Pacific Grove, California.

Project Links

Credits | Fimmaker's Statement | About the Filmmaker


VOICE IN EXILE is a motion picture production of

The American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film Studies

Distributed by Original Gravity

© American Film Institute

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