Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World, Director Julio Palacio

In the heartwarming short documentary, Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World, we are introduced to a remarkable young girl whose spirit and determination defy all expectations. Makayla, a black teenage girl, has spent her life grappling with a rare form of autism that rendered her essentially nonverbal. However, her parents (father, Grammy-award winning producer Needlz and business owner mother, Mañana), filled with unwavering belief in their daughter’s potential, embarked on a transformative journey to discover the true depth of Makayla’s inner world. Recently, through the help of Roxy Sewell, Makayla’s letterboard therapist, a groundbreaking breakthrough came into their lives in the form of letter board therapy, a method that finally provided Makayla with the means to communicate. As her voice gradually emerges, the audience is invited into a world of wonder, poetry, and brilliance that was once hidden from sight. Through the lens of the documentary, we witness Makayla’s courageous steps as she unveils her thoughts, feelings, and insights. With her newfound ability to express herself, she shines as an inspiring advocate for autism, determined to show the world the power and beauty of neurodiversity.  Makayla’s Voice: A Letter to the World is directed, written and produced by Julio Palacio, who has won several awards for his short form documentaries. The film is also produced by Sam Hanson and Sasha Levinson, editor is Jeff Jay and cinematography is by Brock Hanson.


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Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2024 Slamdance Film Festival

About the filmmaker – Julio Palacio is an award winning director passionate about crafting emotions through storytelling. He is proud of his Colombian background and brings that energy and diversity to all of his projects. He focuses on short form documentary and his work has been officially selected at festivals all over the world, such as Vail, Diversity in Cannes, Riom France, AmDocs, and the Oscar qualifying Riif; among many others. His work has also been showcased at Tribeca and Sundance. He has recently directed films for brands such as Google, 3M, Daimler Mercedes, MasterCard, Stanley Black and Decker, National Bank of Australia, and many others. His passion for filmmaking has taken him to work on projects all over the world including countries such as Australia, Germany, Italy, China, EAU, Taiwan, China, India, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and all over the US. Julio has an eye for real authentic moments as he believes this is what makes documentaries and films special, but he is also a strong believer in the power of beautiful and cinematic visuals.