AMC THEATRES, Autism Society to Commemorate National Autism Awareness Month with “WRETCHES & JABBERERS”
March 3, 2011
By Amanda Glensky
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Amanda Glensky, Media Specialist
Bethesda, Md. (March 3, 2011) – AMC Theatres (AMC), a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company, is partnering with the Autism Society and Area 23a, an event-based distribution company, for a unique, national theatrical run of the feature documentary WRETCHES & JABBERERS to commemorate National Autism Awareness Month in April.
WRETCHES & JABBERERS is a poignant narrative directed by Academy Award® winner Gerardine Wurzburg that follows two men with autism, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, who embark on a global quest to change attitudes about disability, intelligence and communication.
“AMC’s exclusive release of WRETCHES & JABBERERS speaks to people with autism in their lives and raises the awareness of those not familiar with this condition,” said Gerry Lopez, CEO and president of AMC. “Our showcasing this moving documentary is an extension of AMC’s commitment to the autism community through our Sensory Friendly Films program, which presents first-run theatrical films in a safe, accepting environment for families who live with autism.”
WRETCHES & JABBERERS will premiere on April 1 for a limited theatrical run at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square in New York — the busiest AMC theatre in the country, which hosts approximately 2 million guests every year. The company will also launch a limited theatrical run of the film in Los Angeles starting on April 15. Throughout the month of April, AMC will market WRETCHES & JABBERERS through an Autism Society public service announcement featuring Thresher and Bissonnette, which will play at AMC theatres.
Additionally, Area 23a will open WRETCHES & JABBERERS across the United States as part of a 40-city tour at AMC theatres in top markets — such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston — beginning April 2, which is World Autism Awareness Day. AMC will donate a portion of the ticket sales from the 40-city tour to the Autism Society.
“AMC’s decision to showcase WRETCHES & JABBERERS in some of its most popular mainstream movie theatres echoes the movie’s powerful message of inclusion, and AMC’s commitment to improving the lives of all affected by autism,” said Lee Grossman, president and CEO of the Autism Society. “It is a powerful statement by a caring corporation to extend the mission of the movie, which is to challenge public attitudes about autism.”
AMC has been a staunch advocate of autism awareness since 2008 through its partnership with the Autism Society on the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program (www.autism-society.org/sensoryfilms). The auditoriums dedicated to the program show new releases without the pre-show advertisements or movie trailers. The house lights in the auditoriums are turned up, the sound turned down and guests are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing as they please. The showings of WRETCHES & JABBERERS will have the same auditorium and programming configurations as movies seen in the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program.
The idea for the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program began with a request from a parent with an autistic child for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, Md., where more than 300 people attended the first screening. Now, working with the Autism Society’s chapters, the program has expanded to 133 AMC theatres in 62 markets.
“As a leading theatrical exhibition company, AMC is proud to make a difference in the estimated 1.5 million Americans living with an autism spectrum disorder by offering families a chance to see a movie together, often for the very first time,” said Lopez.
WRETCHES & JABBERERS is also an example of the diverse movies AMC features through AMC independentTM, which provides guests with the best independent films and target interested guests through unique promotions and other customized marketing efforts.
“WRETCHES & JABBERERS represents our commitment to provide independent film to our increasingly diverse audience through AMC independent,” said Robert J. Lenihan, president of programming for AMC. “We intend to amplify our pledge of bringing these stories to our guests through direct partnerships with independent filmmakers and through film festival participation and promotion, in a more significant way than we have in the past.”
The movie is the latest documentary by Wurzburg who won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film EDUCATING PETER and was again nominated in 2005 for AUTISM IS A WORLD.
“We are thrilled to partner with AMC Theatres and the Autism Society and be part of the call to action for the full inclusion of adults with autism in their communities,” said Wurzburg. “Tracy and Larry’s journey allowed us to portray the global face of autism, and now audiences across the United States will be able share in their story and better understand adults whose lives are affected by autism.”
To see a complete list of markets and AMC theatres where WRETCHES & JABBERERS will be playing and to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.amctheatres.com/wretchesandjabberers/
About the Autism Society
The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy. www.autism-society.org.
About Area 23a
Area23a is a bi-coastal, independently owned "event" based theatrical distribution company, co-founded by distribution guru Richard Abramowitz and Ocule Films founder, Kirt Eftekhar. The company focuses on event driven films, providing value-added distribution through alternative ways to reach audiences across the country, releasing films in libraries, museums, community centers, and college campuses, in addition to traditional venues like theaters, cinematheques and festivals. Area23a distributes award-winning films such as Bill Guttentag's SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, Michael Paul Stephenson's BEST WORST MOVIE and Alex Rotaru's THEY CAME TO PLAY, as well as the upcoming TO CATCH A DOLLAR directed by Gayle Ferraro. www.area23a.com
About WRETCHES & JABBERERS
WRETCHES & JABBERERS follows Tracy and Larry as they challenge global attitudes about autism and issue a hopeful message to reconsider competency. A sentimental story about personal struggle that rings with intelligence, humor, hope and courage, WRETCHES & JABBERERS is about the life-sustaining power of relationships – the personal connections that people make through communication. It is produced by Douglas P. Biklen and Gerardine Wurzburg and funded by the John P. Hussman Foundation which provides life-changing assistance through medical research, education, and direct aid to vulnerable individuals having urgent needs or significant disabilities. WRETCHES & JABBERERS features original music by composer J. Ralph (THE COVE, MAN ON WIRE) with a soundtrack featuring original songs written and produced by J. Ralph in collaboration with Antony, Devendra Banhart, Paul Brady, Bonnie Bramlett, Vashti Bunyan, Martin Carthy, Judy Collins, Lila Downs, Vincent Gallo, David Garza, Ben Harper, Scarlett Johannson, Nic Jones, Norah Jones, Leah Siegel, Carly Simon, Stephen Stills, Ben Taylor and Bob Weir. The WRETCHES & JABBERERS album was released on January 11, 2011, and a share of the profits will be donated to the Autism Society and the Wretches & Jabberers Fund of the Institute on Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University. www.wretchesandjabberers.org.
About AMC Entertainment Inc.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., AMC Entertainment Inc. is a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company. With a history of industry leadership and innovation dating back to 1920, the company today serves hundreds of millions of guests annually through interests in 361 theatres with 5,203 screens in five countries. www.AMCTheatres.com.
Additional Media Contacts:
WRETCHES & JABBERERS
Scott Feinstein Annalee Paulo
42West 42 West
(212) 277-7555 (310) 477-4442
Justin Scott, (816) 480-2548
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