Café Joyeux Hosts Special NYC Screening of Cannes-Lions-Winning Film ‘47,’ Co-created with the Down Syndrome Community

Exquisitely handcrafted stop-motion short captures hearts worldwide as non-profit marks the progress of its first U.S. location and advocates for more inclusive workforce

NEW YORK & PARIS & SAO PAULO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–“Robert got his first job at the age of 47…But he’s always been amazing…He was just waiting for the world to be.” That’s the simple truth of ‘47,’ the inspirational animated short about the lifelong journey of a man with Down syndrome, which won the prestigious Silver Film Lion and three other awards at last week’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, and will be celebrated tonight at a fundraising screening event at the French Embassy’s Villa Albertine at the historic Payne Whitney mansion in New York City.

“We are overjoyed by the world’s reaction to ‘47’ and what our film represents to people with disabilities,” said Sylvie Giret, U.S. CEO of Café Joyeux, the French-based not-for-profit café-restaurants committed to employing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), which launched its first U.S. location in midtown Manhattan and screened the film for its crew members and their families earlier this year.

Around seven million people in the U.S. live with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome and autism, and approximately 75 to 80 percent are without employment.

Café Joyeux’s Co-Founder Yann Bucaille-Lanrezac said, “Our film humanizes what many people with Down syndrome and autism experience, while celebrating their potential and capabilities quite beautifully, and we hope it makes a difference in people’s lives in the same way our cafés do.”

‘47’ follows ‘Robert,’ a boy with Down syndrome on a personal odyssey. Guided by his mother’s love, symbolized by a yellow scarf that turns into a sail, he journeys down a river fraught with rejection, exclusion, and bullies; until the age of 47, when he finally reaches safe harbor at Café Joyeux and discovers a world that embraces his extraordinary abilities. The film’s credits reveal a montage of actual Café Joyeux crew members in Manhattan reacting to getting their job offers, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of ‘47.’

Made By and For the IDD Community

‘47’ was co-created by people with — or connected to — Down syndrome. Sujeet Desai, a multi-talented American musician with Down syndrome plays the film’s soundtrack “Carry On” on piano, alongside Grammy-winning rock band FUN’s lead singer Nate Ruess. José Omar Davila, a skillful Venezuelan orchestra conductor with Down syndrome, created the film’s sound effects and sound design. Zombie Studios art director Bruno Jacob and his daughter Luna, who has Down syndrome, designed the film’s main character ‘Robert.’

Global health marketing agency Klick Health wrote the script and led the project, teaming up with audio production company Canja Audio Culture and animation house Zombie Studio. Canja traveled to Desai’s hometown of Buffalo, NY to record him playing the piano in a local sound studio and directed Davila’s production remotely.

About 130 artists at Zombie Studio worked in production and post-production to bring to life the stop-motion animation (with handmade characters and sets). Among the many puppets they created were 11 versions of Robert, ranging in age from five to 47 and height from 10 to 20 centimeters (only three versions were included in the final film). The puppets were made of steel and aluminum, coated in foam and silicon, and then finished with 3-D printed resin. Zombie also handcrafted eight miniature sets, such as Café Joyeux’s trademark storefront and interior, and around 400 props, including tiny croissants, cakes, coffee cups, and chairs).

“When we heard the real-life story of the crew member ‘Robert’ is based upon, we were so touched that we just had to capture the optimism and perseverance of this community,” said Klick Health Chief Creative Officer Rich Levy. “We are in awe of Café Joyeux and hope our film inspires others to be as accepting and inclusive, recognizing that we are all unique and deserve to reach our full potential.”

Zombie Studio Director Paulo Garcia said, “We had a sensitive and inspiring story to tell in a playful way. Our goal as a producer was to create an animation with simplicity and elegance in an aesthetic design. All that combines with the empathetic content, bringing the viewer closer to the experience of the IDD community and giving everyone a glimpse of their lives.”

“This project has been one of the most impactful we’ve ever undertaken,” added Filipe Resende, Founder and Music Director of Canja Audio Culture. “Having Sujeet and José Omar collaborate on this project was truly incredible. Their talent and enthusiasm were evident from the very beginning, and their involvement added a layer of authenticity and depth that resonates deeply.”

To watch ‘47,’ please visit To support and experience the joy of Café Joyeux, visit its first U.S. location at Lexington Avenue and East 52nd Street in New York.

About Café Joyeux

Café Joyeux is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to promoting the inclusion of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. We empower them through meaningful, vocational training and employment opportunities in our café-restaurant and beyond.

When Yann and Lydwine Bucaille opened the first Café Joyeux in France in 2017, their objective was to open hearts and change our society’s perceptions of disabilities by creating spaces which promote inclusion.

As of 2024, Café Joyeux operates 24 cafe-restaurants across France, Portugal and Belgium, along with the launch of the first American café in New York City this past year. Nearly 250 individuals with IDD now have access to meaningful careers, innovative vocational training programs focusing on autonomy, and countless everyday encounters with the guests who visit our restaurants. We treat each of them as ordinary employees, and we turn their differences into strengths.

A French inspired care for aesthetics and elegance, prime locations, homemade seasonal recipes conceived by Michelin star chefs, and high hospitality standards are at the heart of our model. We bring both pride and dignity to our employees, and we also inspire companies and individuals that themselves become Ambassadors of Inclusion.

A world pioneer in the field of DEI – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – the US is a natural place for Café Joyeux to thrive.

There are over 8 million people with IDD in this country that can’t access meaningful jobs or any job at all, and our goal is to welcome as many of them as possible in the Café Joyeux community, directly or indirectly. The bar is high, yet the overwhelming wave of support and incredible generosity that Café Joyeux has so far received from corporations and individuals gives us hope that a more inclusive society is possible, one cup of joy at a time!”


For more information, interviews, and images:

Café Joyeux US
+1 (347) 503-5095 or

Klick Health
Marisa McWilliams, Director of Communications, Klick Health

+1 (416) 214-4977 or

Zombie Studio
Giovanna Ricci

+55 11 96246-5238 or

Canja Audio Culture
Fernanda Albanus

+1 (813) 709-6814 or

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