Friday, October 5, 2007


Thank you to everyone who came and supported Billy the Kid at the IFC Film Center in New York City! What an amazing crowd and a wonderful night!

by Charlie Olsky (October 4, 2007)

IFC Center finds a "Billy" silver-lining

After a week full of movies about abortion in fascist states, full-body paralysis, nightmarish future worlds and scary government actions, audiences in search of something more life-affirming were welcome to come to the IFC Center on Tuesday night, where director Jennifer Venditti was present for a screening of her winning documentary "Billy the Kid" as part of the third run of that theater's "Stranger Than Fiction" series--co-presented by SXSW, where the film won the Jury prize for best documentary. The movie shows several days in the life of teenager Billy, a sweet-natured but misfit kid whose blunt demeanor and abrupt temper often prove alienating; after the film was completed, Billy was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a mild form of autism that manifests itself as a particular type of social awkwardness.

For Vendetti, a casting director looking to make a series of character portraits, the entire film fell into her lap. "I met Billy in a lunch room, he was the kid that was being bullied," said Vendetti in the Q&A which followed the screening. "When he opened his mouth, I was in heaven. I was, like, 'are you kidding? Who is this person, and why isn't everyone interested in him?"

While portraits of endearing oddballs often find themselves subjected to accusations of exploitation (see: Al Maysles, Errol Morris, et al.), what impresses most about the film is how overwhelmingly humane it is. Said Vendetti, "my goal with this film was to understand someone for who they are, and how they see the world, not how other people see them and define them". "Billy the Kid" will open in theaters in late 2007/early 2008.


By Eric Kohn

The illuminating "Stranger than Fiction" series continued on Tuesday night at the IFC Center with Billy the Kid, a disarmingly funny and genuinely poignant documentary that premiered earlier this year at the South by Southwest Film Festival. The movie marks the directorial debut of Jennifer Venditti, whose ability to convey the innocence of youth and the universal anguish of being an outsider suggests a natural ear for the emotional rhythms of growing up...