ROCCO UP, the powerful, moving short documentary film chronicling the world of Rocco Intonato, a non-verbal autistic ten-year-old boy who learns to surf, will have its New York premiere at the 30th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival scheduled for October 7-16, 2022.
Directed by filmmaker and award-winning photographer John Madere, the film centers around Rocco and his dad Ben, who has been teaching Rocco to surf on the beaches of Ditch Plains, Montauk since he was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. An avid surfer, Ben always dreamed that his son would one day become a surfer. For hours, endless days, and then years, the close-knit community of Montauk, N.Y would observe father and son in the ocean and would begin chanting “Rocco Up!” to show their support when Rocco stood up on the surfboard.
“I hope others can see this film and realize that Rocco and Montauk helped me find a formula that I truly believe could help others.” – Ben Intonato
ROCCO UP is life-changing – a must see film for every parent of a child with special needs. It shows triumph over the devastation of autism, as a special needs child is lifted higher than was ever thought possible. ROCCO UP is an inspiring story about the power of love, family sacrifice, triumph, perseverance, the magic of Montauk and its community, the healing powers of the ocean and most of all, finding joy in the challenges of life.
Produced by Ditch Plains Productions, ROCCO UP is the result of a serendipitous meeting at Ditch Plains, Montauk, of filmmaker John Madere, executive producer Kevin McCann, Ben Intonato and son Rocco. Ditch Plains Productions was founded by Montauk poet and businessman Don Intonato, grandfather of Rocco. John Madere is also the director of MONTAUK, winner of Best Documentary NYC Downtown Short Film Festival (2013).
The film features unscripted interviews and testimonials from Rocco’s family, including his mother, Sara, younger sister Aurelia, grandparents Meri and Don Intonato as well as a host of friends and fans from the Montauk community.
ROCCO UP is an official selection of the 30th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival and will screen on Thursday, October 13th at 5:30PM and Saturday, October 15th at 1:30PM at the Regal UA East Hampton Cinema. To purchase tickets to the screening, please visit https://filmguide.hamptonsfilmfest.org/events/roccoup/