29 JUL 2022

Sky Documentaries unveils documentary and horror short film from Otto Baxter

These pieces are the first original commissions written and directed by a person with Down Syndrome, to be ordered by a major British broadcaster.

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Sky announces that production has wrapped on "The Puppet Asylum", a cinematic horror short from writer and director Otto Baxter, and that production is underway on a feature documentary "Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story" which explores Otto’s extraordinary life – past, present, and his vision for the future. The companion pieces are the first original commissions of this scale, written and directed by a person with Down Syndrome, to be ordered by a major British broadcaster.

"The Puppet Asylum", a 30-minute short film set in Victorian London, is an allegorical horror biopic written and directed by Otto Baxter as a reimagining of his own life, from birth to becoming his own master. The unpredictable tale, straight from Otto’s anarchic mind, charts Otto’s birth as a horned baby in a blood-splattered morgue, through his wayward teens, to his years in captivity in the ‘Puppet Asylum’.

"Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story" is a feature length documentary following 35 year old Otto through a year of change, as he makes his film. It’s been driven by a moment of realisation for Otto. He’s recently experienced bereavement and family health scares that have forced him to think about mortality for the first time – his own and those closest to him.

"The Puppet Asylum" and "Otto Baxter: Not A F***ing Horror Story" will air on Sky Documentaries and streaming service NOW in 2023, following a theatrical window.

Drama writer and director, Otto Baxter said: “I am the first writer and director with Down Syndrome commissioned by a British Broadcaster to make a film like this, but hopefully not the last. Making my vision come to life has been totally mind blowing. Without exception the whole team has made me feel welcomed, listened to, included and respected as a fellow artist. Having Down Syndrome has meant I have often been excluded from teams so it has been wonderful to have the experience of being at the centre of such an inclusive and professional project. I hope this will become standard working practice and help with the fight for inclusion and equality in the industry and beyond. I would like to thank all the people at Sky for believing in me, enabling me to share my story.”

Poppy Dixon, Director of Factual and Documentaries at Sky said: “We are incredibly excited to welcome such a powerful and innovative dual project to Sky Documentaries. It is a privilege to share Otto’s deeply personal narrative of growing up with Down Syndrome in the UK, and his journey towards reclaiming and redefining his life, on his own brilliant terms. Both are utterly unique projects, told with an unflinching creative voice; ‘The Puppet Asylum’ and ‘Otto Baxter: A Horror Story’ (w/t) will sit at home amongst a wealth of compelling, bold factual content on the channel.”