Wretches & Jabberers Makes Big Screen Debut

Wretches & Jabberers is a feature documentary that follows two men with autism, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonette, on their worldwide journey to challenge the perception of individuals with disabilities and the way we communicate. Directed by Academy Award winner Gerardine Wurzburg, Wretches & Jabberers is an inspiring film that was screened in front of a captivated audience during the 2010 TASH Conference in Denver. Here’s a synopsis from the Wretches & Jabberers website:

In Wretches & Jabberers, two men with autism embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability and intelligence. Determined to put a new face on autism, Tracy Thresher, 42, and Larry Bissonnette, 52, travel to Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland. At each stop, they dissect public attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful challenge to reconsider competency and the future.

Growing up, Thresher and Bissonnette were presumed “retarded” and excluded from normal schooling. With limited speech, they both faced lives of social isolation in mental institutions or adult disability centers. When they learned as adults to communicate by typing, their lives changed dramatically. Their world tour message is that the same possibility exists for others like themselves.

Between moving and transformative encounters with young men and women with autism, parents and students, Thresher and Bissonnette take time to explore local sights and culture; dipping and dodging through Sri Lankan traffic in motorized tuk-tuks, discussing the purpose of life with a Buddhist monk and finally relaxing in a traditional Finnish sauna. Along the way, they reunite with old friends, expand the isolated world of a talented young painter and make new allies in their cause.

From beginning to end, Thresher and Bissonnette inspire parents and young men and women with autism with a poignant narrative of personal struggle that always rings with intelligence, humor, hope and courage.

The film that sparked conversations and ignited hearts and minds at the TASH Conferene is now going coast-to-coast. Wretches & Jabberers will premier April 1 in Times Square in New York, followed by an additional run Los Angeles on April 15. Both appearances will be at AMC Theatres, which, along with the Autism Society, have partnered to show this film during National Autism Awareness Month in April. Beginning April 2, Wretches & Jabberers will also be shown in other major cities across the U.S. Find a complete list of locations at www.amctheatres.com/wretchesandjabberers.

TimesTalks, part of The New York Times, will feature Wretches & Jabberers director Gerardine Wurzburg, along with Autism Society president and CEO, Lee Grossman, on March 30 for a discussion about the changing face of autism. The event will be held at The Times Center on 242 West 41st Street in New York City. TASH members receive a discount to this event by using event code NTTAS. Check out the event flyer for additional details and visit TimesTalks online to register to attend. 

This past December, Tracy and Larry attended the Wretches & Jabberers screening at the TASH Conference and answered questions from the audience. You can view a snapshot of their experience in the video below. We’ll also bring you two guest blogs from Tracy and Larry this week. A BIG thanks goes out to these guys for being so generous with their time.

Don’t miss Tracy and Larry as they guest blog here at TASH.org. Part I of The Stars of Wretches & Jabberers is available here.