Billy the Kid is available on DVD

Last winter I worked with Jennifer Venditti and Chiemi Karasawa to produce the film Billy The Kid, about a teenager with Asperger's in a small town in Maine. The film has received wide critical acclaim, with one reviewer describing it as, "The antidote to Juno."

It's definitely a real life story.

When the film came out I traveled to theaters, where the director and I did Q&A sessions after the film was screened. The best of those Q&As are now at the end of the film, and we will also upload them to youtube now that it's on sale.

Here is the official announcement:

Add to your NETFLIX queue
Visit the WEBSITE
Available on


“Many memorable dramatic films about adolescence have been made over the decades, but few of them can match the impact of BILLY THE KID, a striking, heartfelt documentary that deserves to have a long shelf life.”—Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

“The first twenty minutes alone is worth the price of admission for the contribution to furthering the language of documentary.”—Michael Lerman, indieWIRE

“As quietly inspiring as it is genuinely heartbreaking, BILLY THE KID is an act of passionate empathy.”—Geoff Pevere, The Toronto Star

“Venditti's enormously affecting documentary about a thoughtful Maine boy's coming of age has won awards at all four of the festivals it's competed in. Believe the hype.”—Time Out New York


BlogStalker said…
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Polly Kahl said…
Coolness John, thanks for letting us know about it.
Polly Kahl said…
I just found out Billy the Kid is available at NetFlix too, for all you NetFlixers.
Michelle O'Neil said…
I cannot wait to see this John.

jess said…
it's on my netflix queue!

is it just me or is there no mention of asperger's in any of the ads? hmm
Polly Kahl said…
Hi Jess, to my understanding, there is no mention of Asperger's anywhere on the film other than briefly in the director's interview in the extras. Billy happens to have AS, but rather than being about AS, it's a film about acceptance of all sorts of people. Hopefully John will correct me if I'm wrong.
John Robison said…
Jess commented on the fact that Asperger's is not mentioned in the film . . . Jennifer (the director) and I discussed that very question with audiences when we were screening the film. I'll repeat the answer she gave here.

The movie is about a kid growing up and learning to fit in. As such, it's a story about life, not a story about Asperger's.

Asperger's is the particular complication that Billy wrestles with but that's not really the focus of the movie.

When the movie was being filmed, the director knew Billy was "different." She'd gone there (to the school) for other casting work, and in the course of looking for "interesting" people, Billy was pointed out to her. She was immediately fascinated by him, and I think viewers will see why.

Billy actually got the Asperger diagnosis right about the time the filming concluded. That's another reason it's not in the film . . . when it was shot, Billy was like me back then - a misfit kid with no diagnosis or explanation.

The fact is, all of you can identify some "difference" in your kids and the story could easily apply to anyone, anwhere.

I do think those of you with a strong personal connection to Asperger's may take the film more seriously, as I did. But it's message is still applicable to all kinds of people.
Polly Kahl said…
Thanks, John. A valuable message for everyone. It's in my NetFlix queue and I'm looking forward to seeing it.
jess said…
thanks, polly / john .. i look forward to watching it too!
Thanks John, I'll check it out!

Looking forward to seeing you in St. Charles!
China said…
Interesting. I watched the trailer and see that his girlfriend has nystagmus. That caught my attention because my son is on the spectrum AND has nystagmus. Can't wait to see it. I'm glad to hear it's the antidote to Juno. I just recently saw "Juno" and I need the antidote.

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