Voted the #1 Audience Favorite in 5 consecutive film festivals, "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" explores the unlikely real-life friendship between Bill Sackter (who was abandoned in an institution for 44 years for mild mental retardation), and Barry Morrow (a young idealistic college student who became Bill's legal guardian to keep Bill out of the institution), and how their relationship and Bill's unique embrace of life allowed Bill to become an internationally known hero for people with disabilities.
Many Iowans remember the made-for-tv drama "Bill" (1981) starring Mickey Rooney and Dennis Quaid that portrayed the events in Bill and Barry's life. This new engaging documentary "A Friend Indeed" explores the real Bill Sackter through actual film/video footage and photographs of Bill himself and interviews with those closest to him, told in a very entertaining and engaging way. It is an entirely new experience that has been praised for its faithful portrayal of the real Bill by those closest to him.
This June marks 30 years since Bill's passing, and his impact continues to resonate especially in Iowa City where he became famous as the proprietor of Wild Bill's Coffee Shop on the University of Iowa campus, with the help of Barry Morrow, Tom Walz and many other people in the community.
Filmmaker Lane Wyrick spent 7 years researching, interviewing and digging through a "treasure trove" of archival footage to bring the documentary to the big screen. "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" had the debut of the theatrical 90 minute version at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City to a crowd of nearly 1200 in June of 2008. Since then it has been screened around the nation, won numerous awards, and has developed loyal fan base, and recently the theatrical version of "A Friend Indeed" was released on a special edition DVD on Amazon.com.
Wyrick wanted to make sure that the new 60 minute television version of the documentary retained the same impact of the original 90 minute documentary while fitting into television broadcast specifications. "Editing out nearly a third of the documentary while retaining the same level of inspiration in the documentary was a difficult challenge, but I am very happy with the results. Being on television will definitely increase the audience and spread the impact of the documentary, and the DVD is also available for viewers that enjoy the story and want to enhance their experience with the full length documentary and lots of extra footage as well."
The official website, http://www.BillSackter.com/, includes in-depth background information, the video trailer, photos, information about the DVD, and in-depth coverage of this amazing real life story that changed the way our society views people with disabilities.
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