“I am the first writer and director with Down Syndrome commissioned by a British Broadcaster to make a film like this, but hopefully not the last”

Otto Baxter

A feature-length documentary following 35-year-old Otto Baxter as he writes and directs his first short film, THE PUPPET ASYLUM. Through his work, Otto finds the vocabulary to process his past and imagine his uncertain future. He tackles his demons head-on, but always with a riotous sense of humour.

Otto’s recent experiences of bereavement and a family health scare have forced him to think about mortality for the first time – his own and those closest to him. He has always turned to films to make sense of the world and this moment is no exception. Through the writing and directing process, Otto tackles his demons head-on, but always with a riotous sense of humour. 

Otto’s extraordinary upbringing has meant his life has always played out on camera to some extent. This rich archive will be blended with drama and present-day footage in this intimate documentary, to tell the compelling story of Otto and his family, placing it firmly in the context of the UK’s evolving attitudes to disability over his lifetime.

“We’ve been mates with Otto for 15 years and thought we knew him really well, but joining him on his filmmaking journey has offered incredible insights into how he sees the world. Otto is a true creative and a director with a singular vision. Sometimes, during the writing process, he’d suggest ideas we thought would never work. They generally turned out to be the stand out moments of the film. This is a story and a world that could only have come from the mind of Otto Baxter, and through this process Otto has found the vocabulary to unpack how he really feels about his past, and his future”

Peter Beard and Bruce Fletcher at Story Films

“We are incredibly excited to welcome such a powerful and innovative dual project to Sky Documentaries. It is a privilege to share Otto’s deeply personal narrative of growing up with Down Syndrome in the UK, and his journey towards reclaiming and redefining his life, on his own brilliant terms. Both are utterly unique projects”

Poppy Dixon, Director of Factual and Documentaries at Sky