84 min / documentary / 2006 / USA
filmmaker: Jennifer Venditti
Billy the Kid is an inspiring portrayal of adolescence, which takes an intimate look at a truly unique character, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome after the making of the film.
Billy is a 15-year-old outsider growing up in small-town Maine. He appears, in many ways, like other teenage boys-he’s into heavy metal and martial arts, is desperate to find a girlfriend, and aspires to a career as an actor and rock star – yet something about Billy is odd. Unapologetic about his personality, Billy refuses to be victimized, creating his own techniques to help him survive in an environment of conformity and prejudice. Billy is funny, sharp, strangely wise for his age, and remarkably candid. After filming was complete, Billy was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a kind of autism, and the film sheds light on this little-understood disability and challenges viewers to imagine themselves beyond labels.
Winner of Jury Prizes at the SXSW, LA, and Edinburgh Film Festivals.
“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…” -Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter