Philosophically, if not physically, Eden Prairie is about as far removed from Hollywood as one can get. But that hasn't stopped one of its residents, John Carr, from not only writing a screenplay but also creating a classic studio pitch for it:

"It's similar to 'Rocky,' but for autistics," he said.

And Carr's work actually has started down the path to the big screen: It is the first "test film" being made in a program by online retailer Amazon to connect writers, directors and Warner Bros. studio.

Carr's "American Anthem," a short version of which is being filmed this month in Portland, Ore., tells the story of a brash speed skater training a high-functioning autistic teen struggling to get into a U.S. Olympic program.

The competitive sequences in the film use point-of-view camera work from a speed skater's perspective.

Carr's was the first of 2,200 submitted screenplays to get a test film in the project, similar to HBO's Project Greenlight program for aspiring filmmakers a few years back. It must get through more phases to become a feature film, but Carr is hopeful -- and thankful for this particular avenue.

"It's basically opening up a contest to see what's out there that the entertainment industry has been ignoring for so long," he said. "A lot of us don't have contacts in Hollywood.

"It's a challenge to the system. This is kind of the future."