Life loves to throw challenges our way and these often make the best stories. All you need for proof of this is the sheer amount of films with the line ‘based on a true story’ after the opening credits. It can be easy to forget that art, particularly film, acts as a reflection of the lives we lead and the experiences we have. For director Guzin Kurun her art-form quickly became influenced by her life when she gave birth to twin boys with autism.
After majoring in Film in college and then working at CNN-NY for 6 years Guzin married and had twin boys who were diagnosed with autism shortly after. “We were heavily into getting them help, all we had to turn to was immediate family, those were hard years. My husband and I were positive and always had a sense of humour. It’s how we got through it,” she said. Writing out daily adventures became a cathartic way to assist Guzin through the struggle and soon it became clear there was a story to be told.
Surprisingly Complicated is a web series based on these daily adventures of Guzin and her two boys. “Every episode is true to life. I originally thought of writing a book, but I have this film experience to tell the story on screen. It seemed more natural to me. The characters, including the family in the series, all have these great back stories that are relatable. Modern struggles but a foundation of love and hope,” she explained, “I think episodic works for us because we have had many experiences with our boys like themes parks, doctors offices, public places, etc… When the time came to make this into a web series, I felt no one can direct it but me. The shot lists I created, my recollections of what actually happened, and our cast and crew had a part in me being the director.”
The series currently has 3 finished episodes available to view on YouTube, but Guzin has created a series bible for multiple seasons worth of content, which she hopes might get picked up by Amazon or Netflix. In the meantime the Surprisingly Complicated GoFundMe page aims to provide funds to shoot at least 3 more episodes for online.
Even with its typical film struggles such as securing locations and budget issues, so far it seems as though the filming process has been a joy due to the people involved. “It’s a highlight for me because our little actors are also autistic, and they really understood that what they’re doing is recreating something that happened. It was a complete joy to watch their professionalism and joy, take after take,” Guzin said. “[Also] Non scripted things they did and said that were so adorably appropriate for the scene.”
It is clearly a labour of love and lots hard work has gone into making this series with the first 3 episodes funded by Guzin herself. With a supportive cast and crew to help pull the story together lets hope that this true story can continue to be told.