Movie Poster: Izidor and Onisha leave the animated world and walk down a beautiful path

Izidor is a disabled orphan trapped in a world of animation when he unexpectedly gets a day out of the asylum and experiences the “real” world for the first time.

SHORT FILM: Watch this 5-minute clip of Morgan Freeman interviewing Izidor where they discuss  an event from his childhood that is the inspiration for the short film.

*This video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.*

REAL BOY FOR A DAY is a coming-of-age, dramatic short film based on the true story of Izidor Ruckel. As a child, Izidor lived in a hidden asylum where “defective” children were banished and abused in Communist Romania.

For twenty-four years, Romania’s dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had pressured families to have at least five children in order to build his army. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, tens of thousands of abused and neglected children were found in secret government “hospitals.”

REAL BOY FOR A DAY gives viewers a glimpse into the life and psyche of an institutionalized orphan. The stakes are high because Izidor isn’t a fictional character, but a real boy trying to determine what it means to be human. He represents not just Romanian orphans, but all orphans worldwide.

The short film utilizes both animation and live action to accentuate the disparity between how institutionalized children experience life compared to children in families.

By creating an audience’s emotional connection to Izidor, we raise awareness for our generation of the human rights issues that confront orphans everywhere and sound a call to action for our time:

How do we, as a global society, bring about lasting change where orphans are treated as real boys and girls not just for a day – but for life?

boy sitting in a crib, animated image
locked orphanage gate, animated image
boy eating from bowl, animated image

We invite you to join us if you want to make a lasting impact for good in the lives of real orphans. Together, we can make this project more than just another orphan tale. Instead, it can be the story that launches real change for millions of vulnerable children.

Raising funds through:

  • Large-scale financial backing – for partnership in the production.
  • Partnerships – with leading brands, corporations, nonprofits, production companies, and more.
  • Grants and tax-deductible donations – utilizing fiscal sponsorship through The Film Collaborative.
  • In-kind services – production, animation, marketing, publicity, post production, airline travel, etc.

For budget details, please contact Producer Sarah Padbury at

Izidor Story, LLC, is approved to receive tax-deductible donations through The Film Collaborative (TFC) Fiscal Sponsorship Program. TFC is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help independent filmmakers with all aspects of distribution without taking rights. By partnering with TFC, we retain ownership and control of our content in exchange for a flat 5% fee on monies donated.

To partner directly with Izidor Story through in-kind services, partnerships, and production collaboration, please contact us here.