Bill Sackter had spent 44 years in a Minnesota institution when he was befriended by college student Barry Morrow, who took the unprecedented step of becoming Bill’s legal guardian to prevent him from being sent back to the institution. They moved to Iowa City, and soon this once-forgotten man was embraced by his community (and eventually an entire nation) as the cheerful harmonica-playing proprietor of “Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop.”
Bill’s life story and friendship with Morrow was dramatized in the 1981 made-for-tv movie “Bill” starring Mickey Rooney and Dennis Quaid. The show won numerous awards and was one of the first positive tv portrayals of a person with intellectual disabilities.
Now viewers can get to know the real Bill Sackter in an inspirational documentary that uses a wealth of actual film and video footage and photographs of Sackter along with newly captured interviews of Bill’s closest friends, including Morrow.
Filmmaker Lane Wyrick spent 7 years creating “A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story," a heartfelt and entertaining documentary that has been praised for its authenticity by people that knew Bill personally. Voted the #1 Audience Favorite in five consecutive film festivals, it has been screened at The Arc’s National Convention and many disability groups, colleges, churches, and movie theaters.
Now, with the help of the organization NETA, Wyrick is prepared to offer “A Friend Indeed” for free to all of the nearly 300 PBS stations across the US for possible airing. But due to the considerable expense involved in paying for broadcast rights for key footage, closed captioning, high definition mastering, and more, Wyrick has turned to the innovative rewards-based funding approach of Kickstarter.
Through his campaign on Kickstarter (ending Feb. 23), Wyrick is hoping to use the strength of crowdfunding to find people around the country that would like to join him in surmounting this final hurdle so that “A Friend Indeed – The Bill Sackter Story” can reach PBS stations across the nation, finally giving viewers a chance to know the real person whose life story helped our society learn to be more compassionate towards people with intellectual disabilities.
For more about the project and Wyrick’s nationwide broadcast efforts, visit BillSackter.com and click on the "Join Us On Kickstarter"