Date: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 2:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: Wechsler Theater, Mary Graydon Center. 3rd Floor, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20016
Gerry Wurzburg's documentary chronicles the world travels of disability rights advocates, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, in a bold quest to change attitudes about the intelligence and abilities of people with autism. Until the 1980s, most children and young adults with autism in the US were excluded from normal schooling. Some were placed in mental institutions. Like many children with autism, Tracy and Larry grew up unable to speak. They faced a future of social isolation in adult disability centers. When Tracy was 23 and Larry 34, their lives changed when they learned to communicate by typing. Larry notes, "nothing I did...convinced people I had an inner life until I started typing." In the film, Tracy and Larry take to the road to promote awareness of the hidden intelligence in those who face speech and communication challenges, connecting with others like them across the globe who struggle to find a means of expression.
Gerardine Wurzburg is the owner of State of the Art, Inc. Over the last twenty – five years, she has developed media on current topics and trends in health, education, contemporary history, and social justice. Her work is released theatrically and broadcast nationally on HBO, CNN, PBS, and ABC and internationally as well as being distributed to extensive non-broadcast audiences.
In public health and education, she is renowned for her skill in developing social marketing campaigns that integrate best practice in education and public health with effective marketing and communication. All work done at State of the Art represents her commitment to use all forms of media to encourage dialogue and social change.
In addition to the many awards Ms. Wurzburg has received over the years, she is the recipient of the Academy Award® and the Japan Prize. In 2011, she received an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Syracuse University in recognition of "your extraordinary body of work, which reveals the transformative power of art and media to inform, inspire, and create a more just, compassionate, and inclusive world."
Her recent film Wretches & Jabberers opened nationwide in theaters is more than 140 cities.