Don't Forget Me follows three Moroccan families with children on the autism spectrum whose parents are struggling to educate them in a country where children with disabilities do not have a right to go to school. The documentary was inspired by Jackie Spinner's two Moroccan-born sons, who also are autistic and now living in the United States. Spinner, a journalist and former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post, returned to Morocco with her sons in 2017 to make this film.
The 28-minute documentary is in Arabic and subtitled in English for a U.S. audience and in Amazigh for a Moroccan audience.
Initial funding for the film was provided through grants from Columbia College Chicago and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.
The doc team is made up almost exclusively of young Moroccans. The executive producer, producer and associate producer are all women.
Every morning, Momo, 11, wakes up early to walk to the bus that takes him to a public school with a classroom set aside for autistic children. It's not free. The private association that runs the classroom charges Momo's family a fee. The association recruits families for the classroom based on their ability to pay.
Hamza, who is 7, also goes to public school but his parents pay for an aide, or "shadow," to go with him. His twin brother, Taha, stays home because the family cannot afford two aides. Each morning, Taha watches his brother go to school and then returns home with his mother who teaches him in their apartment.
Othmane, 5, attends a private school on a scholarship. His family pays for the aide who stays at his side in the classroom. He was born in the same hospital three days before Samir, who is Jackie Spinner's oldest son. While Samir, 5, and his brother, Rafi, 3, were in Morocco, they also attended a private school. Like Hamza and Othmane, Samir had an aide who was trained by his mother and paid for by his family.