Thursday, March 29, 2007


Thanks to everyone for supporting Billy The Kid In LA! Billy always knew it was just a matter of time before he would hit it big in Hollywood.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Check out Episode #11 of FilmCouch, the podcast from the guys at Spout , for highlights from an interview with Jen after the SXSW screening.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thank You NYC and the IFC!

We would like to thank everyone for supporting Billy The Kid at the IFC.

Billy Loves NYC and NYC Loves Billy!!

Check out pics from the screening courtesy of A-Ron from aNYthing:

Rene Ricard and Donald Cumming

Ryan McGinley and Donald Cumming

Jennifer Venditti

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Here are some exclusive pics from the SXSW screening and Q&A...

...and from the after-party

For more pics from the screening, check out PROblog.


Check out pictures of the whole gang after the SXSW win at INDIEWIRE:


Here's an excerpt from "Reeling in a Lone Star State: SXSW Rocks the Docs," a review by Thomas White of the International Documentary Association:

Running with Arnold tackles an equally improbable, but improbably successful campaign—that of Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor of California. The film, by longtime journalist Dan Cox in his first effort as a filmmaker, focuses on the celebrity and the larger-than-lifeness of the candidate and governor, utilizing clips and quotes from politically oriented comics, as well as scenes from the governator's action-adventure films. What's given short shrift is the substance behind the candidate-turned-governor, who has since proven that his run for Sacramento was not just a whim, nor was his victory a fluke. Given his re-election—as a Republican, in a landslide, in a blue state, when the Republican Party had taken a “thumpin'” across the nation—an examination of his acumen for politics and governance was surely needed in the film, no matter what one's political stripe.

Arnold—or at least the action-hero characters he plays—might find a fan in Billy Price, the endearing protagonist of Jennifer Venditti's Billy the Kid, which earned the Jury Prize for Best Documentary. I was initially skeptical of seeing a documentary about a 15-year-old, but there was something so engaging about Billy—his honesty, his self-deprecating humor, his intelligence, his pain—that my misgivings subsided from the very first shot: a close-up of his open mouth. This was no James at 15 meets The Wonder Years . The high school paradigm has been examined in many notable documentaries— Senior Year, American High, High School, Sixteen at Webster Groves, Seventeen. Billy the Kid joins that stately pantheon with this apotheosis of the anxiety, angst, awkwardness and loneliness of adolescence. But more so, the film celebrates that time-honored high school archetype: The Loser—the one who couldn't get a prom date, who sat alone in the cafeteria, who embraced a rhythm and rhyme that was off-kilter from the rest of the school. Kurt Cobain remarked in AJ Schnack's About A Son that the jocks who beat him up in high school were now buying his records. Beck wrote a song about being a loser, and that made him rich and famous. At the closing night party for SXSW, I remarked to the producer of Billy the Kid that everyone in the room could probably relate to Billy, that we should all embrace our Inner Loser.

Learn more about the world of documentary film at the International Documentary Association.


Check out the Austin Chronicle for another review of Billy the Kid:


Check out the Rooftop Films blog for their review of Billy the Kid at SXSW:


BILLY THE KID kicked off the SXSW Film Festival with some late night fun @ "Charlies ". After initially finding the festival environment a bit corporate, we escaped the convention and found some unique Billy The Kid fans.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Check out James Israel's blog JUMP CUTS for his and Jeff's SXSW adventures. Billy and Jen get immortalized in comic strip form...


After facing the challenge of other talented filmmakers and tornado watches during our screenings, Billy the Kid still managed to sell out and take the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature @ SXSW 2007!

Below is an excerpt from indiewire

Interestingly, Sundance Channel sees Billy The Kid as a real life Napolean Dynamite.

Check out indiewire for more about Billy The Kid

There are some interesting comments about the Q & A following our premiere screening on The Porcupine School of Poetry, and more reviews on PROBLOG and New York Press

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Following are a few of the supportive responses we recieved from the Audience at our screening at Bowdoin College. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME TO SUPPORT US!

Thank you for taking the time for doing this story I hope that it
educates all of the people who look at Billy or people that are
different to realize that we all have something to offer and take
the time to listen. I hope I didn't offend anyone when using the
"retarded" word but when I was in School that is what people used
when referring to slow learners and it was only after 1972 when the
Schools systems used the word main streaming and us to be classified
as mentally challenged. There is a Great line in the Movie of " House
of Deeds" that Robin Williams plays that it explains it all to well
of being different .If you haven't seen it .it is a must see movie
for you .Most people when they hear all my stories always say you
should write a book ,Right my minds runs at 200%but it doesn't
connect to my hands so it is always a mess and I never will but I
can tell a story.!!!The movie made me look at myself and about all
the hurt that I put in a distant place in my mind to forgot all those
terrible people that said that i would never be able to do anything
in life except take up space and push pencils on a street corner and
of course all the time looking for order in my life ,friends and
placement of things all in which once they are out of order make
you very angry-- Really angry because in your mind that is what we
are trying to do make sense out of it all.So Yes I loved the Movie
and I too love your eyes.


Thank you so much for the great experience that I had the other night. You really did a great job. My son has dyslexia and I was wondering what I would learn from your film. I kept wondering what was Billy's disability however, once the movie began I did not think of it again. It didn't matter. When I heard you speak after, you mentioned that you wanted to present the movie in a way that it did not matter because of labels. Well, it worked. So many children are diagnosed with disabilities and as a parent with a child who has been recently diagnosed with one I was very interested as soon as I saw the information in the paper. I came out with a lot more than I expected and I thank you for that. You did a great job and Billy is a wonderful actor to be able to present himself. It never seemed as if he was acting. It seemed at all times he was being himself. He is an actor and to see him in a movie at 15 years old shows what he is capable of doing. He may be diagnosed with a disability but, he has already done more than the average 15 year old has done. That is what life is about isn't it, making the best of what we are given.
I have been thinking about this movie a lot. It was as an adult as after school special's were to me back 25 yrs ago as a kid.
I do believe that every middle school and high school should show this movie. It is a very important message for both teens and adults.
My friend was going to e-mail you however, since I'm not sure if she has I will mention it. The karate classes that Billy goes to in Brunswick are known to be more extreme. The Riverview Foundation in Topsham may be another place for him to look into and it has a very different approach to karate. I believe that it gets funds from the state. It may be something his mother may find worth pursuing.
Thank you again,


Friday, March 9, 2007


Here is the playlist Billy made for his premiere party, this Sunday Night, March 11th.

Get your copy on iTunes....

Please Join us for the 9 pm screening at the Austin Convention Center, shuttle bus provided to party after.

11PM-2 AM

Thursday, March 8, 2007


"I'm not black, I'm not white, not foreign, just different in the mind--
different Brains, that's all..." Billy, 2006


We screened Billy the Kid at Bowdoin College in Maine last Sunday. I wanted to show my thanks to the community for their support during the making of the film plus give Billy a chance to have his peers see how I see him!

Chiemi’s good friend John Bisbee was kind enough to hook it all up!! MANY THANKS!

Chiemi , Nina and I drove up, and of course I was freaking out the whole way there thinking no one was going to show. So Nina and I started making as many calls as possible during the six-hour car ride.

When we finally arrived with only half an hour till show time I had the butterflies bad!!! IT WAS MY FIRST OFFICIAL SCREENING WITH THE FILM DONE AND WITH STRANGERS plus Billy and his extended family! That said, I had to go to a bar a do a shot. We all did!! To my surprise I also met some nice men, and one of them was the uncle of Tyler Hubby, who was the editor of "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" , one of my favorite docs! Was this a sign?? I'm in a small-ass town in the middle of Maine at a bar at 5pm on a Sunday!! It had to be a good omen!

Anyways, he asked me the name of the film, and I said “Billy the Kid”, and he said, “You have a great publicist! I've heard about that film!” I said thanks and thought to myself, “What publicist? Me, Nina and Chiemi in our portable car office!!!!” Actually the college did a great job spreading the word and hooked something up with the local paper .

So we finally get to the venue to check the film for sound levels, and I was horrified by what I saw. The film looks muddy and dark like there is a haze over it!! I'm so bummed! We had been working on the film in post on an “hd up rez” (you film people will understand), and this was a dvd projection and it wasn't pretty. Anyways, my good friend, director Carter Smith, assured me no one would notice but me and also said the director is never satisfied.

The screening began and I sat in the way back with my eyes half open thinking, “Geez, this is taking long. Why aren't they laughing at the right places? Oh my gosh, I can't believe Heather showed up and Billy is sitting right next to her!!!! I'm so embarrassed for her. Are they getting it???” and so on, and so on, etc .etc.!

Then it was time for the Q and A, and a man in his 40"s (not sure) stood up and .........................

then kids from billy's school said

then a parent

and then a teacher

then Billy got on stage..................

It was like they had received a script on exactly what I wanted them to get from the movie!! Everything I had worked and fought for no matter how many times people said you need more of this or that and I didn't listen. It finally paid off. A group of strangers from young kids to elderly people from all demographics got it!!

That said, this director is trying to feel satisfied with that! As much as my mind wants to race to what's next (“Why doesn't this sales person get it or that press person or this festival?”), I really am trying to be grateful for this wonderful gift the Maine community gave me. Even if I can only do it for this moment! I really hope what you have seen will be passed on and on and on!!!

Just a short time ago, I didn't know I would ever make a film, didn't know how to start or how to do it. I still didn't know when I met Billy, but day-by-day, I learned and now YOU GET IT!

It's so funny how soon we forget where we started. When I first decided I was going to do this I thought it would be a 10 minute short on Billy! Soooo dream big boys and girls!!!!!


Friday, March 2, 2007

Director's Statement

You might say I'm a sucker for the underdog. I have always looked for beauty in the unconventional…

I first met Billy when I was scouting a high school in Maine to cast real kids as extras for a film. I sat in the lunchroom for several days, marveling at the particular cliques and wondering if any kids ever tried sitting with anyone different. I filmed a table of bullies who described a scenario when they invited a new victim to their table. Apparently, the kid freaked out at the way he was treated. As they all laughed, I asked who this kid was, and they pointed across the room at a boy sitting by himself. “Over there," they said, "His name is Billy.”

I was both awed by and uneasy with his personality; he was so completely open and without boundaries. When I asked teachers about him, they used phrases like 'emotional disabilities,' 'extreme caution' and 'special learning environment'. Other students seemed either jealous that I was so fascinated by him, or concerned that he was so volatile. The more I was warned away from him, the more I wanted to know. I cast him, of course, and came back a few months later to learn more and shoot some footage of my own. This footage turned into Billy the Kid.

As I drove back to the city after shooting for five days, the one thing I couldn't get out of my head was Billy saying, "Sometimes the imaginative world's much better than the real world, but there's one difference: Imagination ain't real!" By courage or necessity Billy had created a technique to help him survive in an environment of pain, conformity, and labels. His pain in facing the real world was made less by his engagement with pop culture heroes and icons. Pop culture superheroes became his source of confidence. I saw a kid who unknowingly made brilliant, wise comments that were fleeting and overlooked by his community, like a young, modern day Don Quixote.

In making the film, I wanted to pass on the feeling I had when I was with Billy. My urge to figure out what was wrong with him was quickly replaced by uncomplicated appreciation and empathy. Every day we were laughing and crying along with Billy, tethered so readily to his feelings. We saw his mother Penny being his only real friend. While I conducted several interviews with teachers, students, family members and specialists, I ultimately threw them out in favor of Billy's voice. He tells the story himself, by being himself. All we have to do is experience Billy while he responds to a painful childhood, first time love, and life as an outsider.

The future that lies ahead for Billy is uncertain, definitely filled with ups and downs. With this film, I am interested in a life in progress, capturing a moment during this coming-of-age time when his thoughts, dreams, and actions have not yet defined his future. Like Billy, I too believe that the imaginative world can become a reality. Ultimately, I feel Billy’s journey is connected to all of our journeys, and that what we strive for, no matter how different we seem, is the same: acceptance, understanding, and love.

As Billy says, "In the words of The Terminator, ‘The future is not written there’s no fate except what we make for ourselves.’”

Jennifer Venditti, February 2007