“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. Making my vision come to life has been totally mind blowing. Without exception the whole team has made me feel welcomed, listened to, included and respected as a fellow artist. Having Down Syndrome has meant I have often been excluded from teams so it has been wonderful to have the experience of being at the centre of such an inclusive and professional project. I hope this will become standard working practice and help with the fight for inclusion and equality in the industry and beyond. I would like to thank all the people at Sky for believing in me enabling me to share my story”

Otto Baxter

A 30-minute short film set in Victorian London, this is the first original commission of this scale, written and directed by a person with Down Syndrome. An allegorical, musical, horror biopic written and directed by Otto Baxter as a reimagining of his own life, from birth to becoming his own master. The unpredictable tale, straight from Otto’s anarchic mind, charts Otto’s birth as a horned baby in a blood-splattered morgue, through his wayward teens, to his years in captivity in the ‘Puppet Asylum’ at the mercy of the evil Master. 

Fusing horror, dark comedy, an evocative soundtrack and a foul-mouthed ventriloquist’s dummy, THE PUPPET ASYLUM is a macabre story of a misunderstood child on a path to controlling their own life. 

The film stars Paul Kaye, Otto Baxter, Ruben Reuter, Rebecca Callard, Myanna Buring, with Dexter Fletcher and Adeel Akhtar, and score by Ed Harcourt.

“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