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John Travolta's Brother Hosts Film Camp For Young People With Autism

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The camera rolls at the sixth annual Joey Travolta Film Camp for kids and adults with autism at Winchester Thurston School in Shadyside.

The brother of actor John Travolta is a director and Special Ed teacher.

"The camp is about giving young people with autism an opportunity, a voice, an outlet," Travolta says. "Teaching life skills, social skills, having fun, through the art of filmmaking. We break them into three groups. Each group makes a film, and every year we have a theme."

This year it's a courtroom theme. They learn every aspect of filmmaking, from script, to camera, to acting. Teachers like Barry Pearl, a star of the classic film "Grease," help the young actors through a scene they created themselves.

If something goes wrong, they don't just look the other way. If a bottle appears on the set when it shouldn't, they shoot the scene over. No pampering.

Nicholas Lauer, in the role of drag queen, and Kendall Brown as a pajama-clad singer, say the two-week camp offers a sense of camaraderie.

"I was more of, you know, how am I going to fit in this," Nicholas says. "Because I feel as if sometimes I like to be sort of more anti-social, as one who doesn't want to, but here I feel confident enough to talk and stuff."

"You find people that have the same issues as I do, and we can relate to each other, and we can understand what kind of issues we have," Kendall adds.

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Travolta says they lose all fear of failure.

"They just go for it," he says.

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