Wizard Mode: Life with Autism in a Quest for World Pinball Championship (educational)



    • Directed by: Jeff Petry & Nathan Drillot
    • Produced by: Jeff Petry & Nathan Drillot
Released: 2016 Educational release 
Running Time: 97 min 
Language:  Closed Captioned 
Subjects: Children, Youth, & Family, Disability/Special Needs

Robert Gagno is currently one of the top ten pinball players in the world. But there’s more to him than just being a pinball wizard. At the age of three, Robert was diagnosed with autism.

Through the international pinball competition circuit he's found a community that has helped him develop self-worth, social skills and confidence in new environments. At the same time Robert has showed many that he's more than the label society places on him. Yet Robert struggles to balance all his growing real world responsibilities and his pinball status. There is no bigger reward in the game of pinball than Wizard Mode. Will he be able to overcome the challenges to unlock his own Wizard Mode?


Reviews / Quotes:

“Wizard Mode… derives its power from the intimacy it achieves with Gagno, and its clever, restrained use of pinball imagery… Gagno emerges here not just as a pinball magician, but as a worthy hero.” - Maclean’s

“It's a testament to the directors' skill and Gagno's charisma that we walk out of the theatre feeling like we've really gotten to know him. He's charming, likeable, and instantly captivating, as are his parents, whose affection and support are palpable and warm the movie. Wizard Mode is both an engaging portrait of Gagno and a look into the fascinating world of competitive pinball.” - The Tyee

“Wizard Mode illustrates the major defining characteristics of its subject’s life expertly and with a great deal of empathy and warmth… In that respect, it’s a brilliant story… It’s a feel good movie that earns all of its good vibes through a nuanced and balanced approach to difficult to understand material.” - Toronto Film Scene

"[Wizard Mode is] a beautiful portrait of Gagno and the difficulties he faces as an autistic person in his 20s." - Digital Journal

“The feelgood Wizard Mode traces his rise through the pinball ranks as he not only becomes one of the top 10 players in North America, but also finds independence away from the blinking lights and flashing fippers of classic machines like The Addams Family and Funhouse.” - The Georgia Straight