Saturday, April 11, 2009

“A Friend Indeed” Gaining Momentum

Here are highlights of the many new things that have happened with “A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story” since the last blog update in late January (see details below).

1) Voted #1 Audience Favorite In 2 More Festivals!
2) The Home Use DVD Is Nearly Complete
3) Bill Sackter Day Screening This Monday
4) Arc of US to Publish Nat'l Article about Documentary
5) New Video Clips on Website
6) Photo of Bill’s Father, Sam Sackter, Discovered
7) Now You Can Bring “A Friend Indeed” To Your Town
8) Major Screening Event in Minneapolis on June 8

Voted #1 Audience Favorite At Two More Festivals

In late February, “A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story” was screened in the Omaha Film Festival which was held in a brand new theater complex – The Great Escape Theaters – in Omaha, Nebraska.

"A Friend Indeed" voted #1 Audience Favorite
at the Omaha Film Festival

Drawing a wide audience for both screenings, from avid festival-goers to families with people with disabilities, “A Friend Indeed” was voted the “#1 Audience Favorite” of the Omaha Film Festival, and as part of the prize was given a third screening immediately following the awards ceremony.

Then in early April, “A Friend Indeed” was voted the “#1 Audience Favorite” and won “Best Documentary” in the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival. This festival, featuring indies to Hollywood films was held at the Collins Road Theaters.

Lane Wyrick receiving #1 Audience Favorite Award from Scott
Chrisman at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival

The documentary received a standing ovation at both the screening and the awards ceremony.

"A Friend Indeed" has now been voted the "#1 Audience Favorite" in 4 festivals (Kansas Internat'l Film Festival, Hardacre Film Festival, Omaha Film Festival, and the Cedar Rapids Indep. Film Festival).

You can read about the festivals and other screenings at:

Home Use DVD Nearly Complete

Over the past few weeks, I have been going through all the additional film and video footage and photographs that accumulated over the course of creating the documentary.

When I was in the middle of editing the documentary I had amassed over 50 hours of source material, and further on in the process I had edited the documentary down to 11 hours of really great usable material!

Of course the final documentary is 90 minutes, so I will have lots of this wonderful and insightful "additional material" as extras on the Home Use DVD, which will add a considerable new dimension to the whole experience of "A Friend Indeed".

Along with the full documentary, the DVD for "A Friend Indeed"
will also have over 2 hours of bonus material

Here are some of the features of the soon-to-be-released Home Use DVD: The full award-winning documentary, an insightful Director’s commentary track, lots of additional footage of Bill & friends, new interviews, deleted scenes & audio recordings, the World Premiere Event at Hancher Auditorium, behind the scenes footage at the orchestra recording session in Seattle, theatrical trailer, biographical information, and more…

With over two hours of additional material it is going to be a “must have” DVD for your collection and will add a lot to the experience of “A Friend Indeed”. For more information, go to:


Bill Sackter Day Screening This Monday

Monday April 13 is the annual Bill Sackter Day celebration, held to commemorate Bill’s birthday.

There will be a special event sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Social Work which includes a celebration at Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop at 3 p.m. in North Hall, and then at 6:30 p.m. a screening of “A Friend Indeed” will be held in room W151 in the Pappajohn Business Building. The screening is free and open to the public.

Go to for more details.

Arc of the US to Publish National Article About Documentary

Last November, “A Friend Indeed” was screened at the Arc’s National Convention in Albuquerque, NM. The Arc has nearly 800 Chapters across the US, serving people and families with disabilities.

Lane Wyrick was speaker and screened "A Friend Indeed"
at The Arc's National Convention

Now the Arc of the US is featuring the documentary in an upcoming article in “Insight Magazine” that goes out to 100,000 Arc members across the country. The article will be published later in April, and will be the first publication to give “A Friend Indeed” national recognition.

If you know of publications that would like to review the documentary please email me with your ideas at

New Video Clips on Website

There have been many updates and improvements to the website. Most notably along with the 3 minute trailer, there are three new videos: “See the first 4 minutes of ‘A Friend Indeed’”, “The Audience Reaction at the World Premiere”, and “Lane Wyrick’s Bio”.

If you haven’t stopped by the website lately (, please watch these videos, especially the “First Four Minutes” which is on the main page just after you enter the site.

Website owners: I’ve also posted embed codes so that you can feel free to post these videos on your website as well to help spread the word. You can find the embed codes at:

Photo of Bill's Father, Sam Sackter, Discovered

Bill Sackter touched many lives, and it’s been an incredible adventure for me to find undiscovered material and find new people that had experiences with Bill. For instance, at recent screenings I’ve met with people that worked at the preschool in North Hall, people from Faribault Institution that remember Bill, and several people that rode with Bill on the Iowa City bus.

The other great discovery has been to make a connection with relatives of Bill – Bill’s sister Alice had descendants who just recently realized that Bill Sackter didn’t die when he was 7 years old as was the family story, but actually got out of the institution to live a wonderful life in his final years.

Stanley Leff (Alice’s son) recently sent me this previously unseen photo of Bill’s father, Sam Sackter.

I also shared with his family an audio letter that Jack Doepke recorded with Bill that was intended to get to Alice Leff in the mid-70s.

I’m looking forward to sharing the documentary with all of Bill’s relatives in the upcoming weeks and enjoy uncovering any new photos or stories about Bill.

If you have photos or stories related to Bill, please email me at .

Or if you would like to share your Bill stories with everyone right now, please feel free to post them on the “Guestbook” at:

Now You Can Bring "A Friend Indeed" To Your Town

There are several ways in which you can bring the award-winning documentary "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" to your town.

By hosting a Filmmaker Presentation and Screening, or by purchasing a Public Screening Site License, your organization can share this powerful documentary with your entire community make a huge impact on the perception of people with disabilities. You may also help to bring "A Friend Indeed" to your local independent movie theater as well.

Lane Wyrick Hosting a Filmmaker Screening
and Presentation at St. Olaf College

Go to: for an explanation of some of these concepts, and please call Lane Wyrick toll-free at 1-877-852-9485 to discuss possible options that would work best for your situation.

Major Screening Event In Minneapolis on June 8

A very big screening event will be held at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis on June 8. It’s being called the “Minneapolis Launch of ‘A Friend Indeed’”, and much like the World Premiere last summer, this event will feature many guests including Barry Morrow, Lane Wyrick, Jack Doepke, Tom Walz and more.

This is going to be a wonderful event, with a Q&A afterwards, a chance for everyone to visit with people from the documentary and that knew Bill, and a Home Use DVD signing. Tickets will be $8.

June 8 - Major Screening at Riverview Theater in Minneapolis

More information, as it becomes available will be posted at:

Thanks to all of you who are interested in “A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story”, and please help get the word out by telling people you know to visit the website:

Take care and have a Happy Easter!

All the best,

Lane Wyrick, director/editor
“A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story”

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