Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bill Sackter Documentary Blog - Welcome!

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the official blog for "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" a new feature length documentary about the real Bill Sackter. This new blog can be found and read on the web at http://billsackter.blogspot.com.

Bill's Story:

Abandoned in an institution for 44 years, Bill Sackter would never see his family again. Forgotten and alone, his life changed through the help and friendship of a young college student, Barry Morrow and several other caring individuals.

With a harmonica, a warm cup of coffee, and an incredible embrace of life, Bill transformed from a neglected individual into a national hero for the disability community.

An inspiring real-life documentary about hope, compassion, and the power of friendship.

Bill Sackter first meets
young Barry Morrow (1972)

The Documentary Begins

I am a documentary filmmaker, and back in 2001 I was premiering my half-hour documentary "The Nazi Drawings" at the Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles.

There, I was approached by Barry Morrow (Academy Award "Rain Man" Screenplay), who was intimately involved with Bill Sackter's life with the opportunity to edit some footage taken of him giving a standup performance talking about his life with Bill Sackter.

Many of the events in Bill and Barry's life took place in Iowa City where I live, so it afforded me the opportunity to get to know the major players in Bill's life. One of them was Tom Walz who directed the Univ. of Iowa School of Social Work and gave Bill a job at a coffee shop.

Bill Sackter and Barry Morrow

Working with Tom and Barry, I realized there was an incredible amount of source material (photographs, film and video footage of Bill), and learned of the powerful and heartwarming story behind Bill's life. I soon realized this would make a great feature length documentary.

Over the past 7 years, I did a huge amount of research on Bill's life, and created a 33 page outline of every article, fact, tidbit, etc. Along the way I made many great discoveries: an audio cassette recording of Bill's funeral, hours of Super 8 film and video footage taken by Barry Morrow of Bill, and all the while I videotaped hours of interviews with all of the people closest to Bill including some people that no one knew were around.

After hundreds of hours of editing, several test screenings, and continuous refinements of the final production, I can now say that the documentary is complete. "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" is a 90 minute production that is like an emotional roller coaster, with very funny scenes, powerful serious emotion and ultimately a very inspiring message of the power of human compassion.

Currently I am planning a screening in Iowa City this summer (2008) that will either serve as the World Premiere or at least the Iowa Premiere (if it were to Premiere in a major festival before that date).

The Official Blog

This blog will chronicle the major events that will happen over the next few months with the documentary, like premiere screenings, film festivals, television broadcast, DVD availability, as well as many other topics.

Official Poster for Documentary

If you are receiving this message by email, then you are already subscribed to the Bill Documentary email list.

If you came directly to this site, then I encourage you to sign up for the email list using the form at the top right of the Blogger screen, or you can also subscribe at the official website of the documentary www.BillSackter.com (just select the "Email List" tab). This way you will receive the blog updates.

Also, the reason I ask for your State (and Country) on the email list signup is so that I can get an indication of the demographic spread and make sure to target an email to you if there will be any screenings in your area.

In the meantime, if you have any comments, suggestions, ideas for screening venues in your area, or anything else, please leave your comments below, or email me at Lane@BillSackter.com.

Take care and have a great week!

All the best,

Lane Wyrick, Director/Editor
"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story"


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