Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Billy the Kid: An Asperger Documentary from 8 Films (Really!)

" I’m not black, I’m not white, not foreign…just different in the mind – different brains, that’s all…” --Billy

That's how Billy Price, the subject of Jennifer Venditti's documentary film, Billy the Kid, describes his life as person with a different way of experiencing the world. Venditti met Price while scouting high schools for film extras. She had been interested in the cliques of students in the cafeteria and how young people divide themselves into these groups. Approaching a table of self styled "bullies", she asked them if they ever invited other kids to their table. They pointed out Billy, considered a "nerd" by students and "emotionally troubled" by teachers, explaining that they had invited him over only to mock him.

Venditti knew which side of the cafeteria she wanted to be on.

(click to enlarge)

This was the beginning of a relationship which has resulted in what looks to be a very cool documentary. According to Film Maker magazine, Venditti "believes in willing away labels and seeing beauty without demanding to understand it". The blog for the film includes a list of anti-bullying links as well as links to autism advocacy sites.

I can't believe I'm just now finding out about this. How could a documentary about a person with Asperger syndrome by a production company called 8 Films have escaped my attention until now? Billy has already collected several awards and goes on tour to qualify for the Oscars, starting this weekend in L.A. Visit the film's website for more information.


  1. Thanks for finding, and sharing, this!

  2. This is so cool. I had not heard of it either and you know how my household feels about the number 8! We actually are going to try to see a showing in LA.

    Cool, Missy

  3. I think your site is neat. I like reading blogs. This is the first time I've been here and will keep reading. Thanks.


  4. Thank you for sharing.

    I will be adding this to my Netflix queque.

    Geeks rule.


  5. Thank you so much for that. The article made me want to cry (with both happiness and sadness). I have got to see this film.

    Karen in CA

  6. I wish the teachers and school staff, the parents of the other "normal" kids, find it in themselves to respect my son's feelings and sensitivities. He is high-functioning Aspergers. It's like we as a family are left out of "the club" of life. As he is maturing, he's realizing the reality of being labeled, made fun of, and left out and it makes me work harder to make sure he finds himself surrounded by accepting people, in normal, mainstream activities, but it always puts him (and us as a family) on guard for what might happen...how his responses will be taken, if he'll be mocked or shunned or ignored. He knows that kids don't include him in games, that they make fun of him. I'm even more saddened by this interview than anything, but I hope the acceptance grows through the movie and discussion...that people learn about the gray areas of us all, that we all have some level of difference in our abilities. My son is gifted academically, but we'll just have to live through the social nightmare of his school-age years.

  7. I thank you for this post.

    I've lrarned to not seek acceptance and inclusion into the "mainstream". I don't particularly like the mainstream. But one can now, especially thanks to the Net, find similarly-minded individuals and it is not so amazing that we (who have been classified as loners our entire lives) actually don't mind "hanging" with each other. -even if it is for moments of silence, contemplation or activities of mutual special interest.

    What this has taught me is that for us there may be a different definition of being "social" which comes with different understandings and acceptance


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