Billy the Kid
Feature-length documentary about an extraordinary, ordinary outsider growing up in Maine.

***Tickets*** | Official Website | Trailer | Reviews | Billy the Kid Blog
FRI., September 14, 2007
Live Music by Lissy Trullie
9:00 - Showtime
11-1AM -After Party: Open Bar at Fontana's (105 Eldridge St @ Grand)
Courtesy of Martin Miller's Gin

On the roof of the Open Road Rooftop Project

350 Grand Street @ Essex (Lower East Side, Manhattan)
F/J/M/Z to Essex / Delancey
In the event of rain the show is indoors at the same location.
Tickets -$8 at the door or online
Presented in partnership with -, New York magazine & Open Road New York.

Billy The Kid (Jennifer Venditti | New York/Maine | 1:20:00)

"Many memorable dramatic films about adolescence have been made over the decades, but few of them can match the impact of "Billy the Kid.""
--Hollywood Reporter

A contemporary documentary, Billy the Kid begins as an intimate portrait that quickly expands into broader social observation of teenage self-discovery; both the darkest and brightest places in youth. Shot in eight days over two seasons, summer and winter, the film uses a trans-genre-verité approach in which the subject seems to be directing the movement of the film as equally as the filmmakers behind the camera. It is, without a doubt, one of the most uniquely powerful documentaries of the year--a film so miraculously honest that Indiewire declared that, "to say the film is a haunting, intimate portrait of a teenage boy struggling through the regular hardships of adolescence would be selling the film short."

Jennifer Venditti stumbled upon Billy while casting Carter Smith’s short film, Bugcrush (Rooftop Summer Series 2006), from non-actor high school students in rural Maine. Intrigued by his eccentric wisdom and pop-infused sensibility, Venditti decided to include Billy along with other everyday heroes that she had encountered through her casting career in what she initially imagined as a multi-voiced documentary on iconoclastic characters. Filming began with a mini-dv camera and fellow Bugcrush alum, actor Donald Cumming, as DP. He and Venditi traveled up to Maine to capture moments from the precocious teen’s everyday life. Unfazed by the wireless microphone that he faithfully wore each day, Billy allowed Venditti and Cumming to follow him and witness the highs and lows of school, taunting from bullies and the colorful locals of Main Street, as well as intimate emotional discussions with his mother.

In the midst of shooting, Billy serendipitously crosses paths with his crush Heather at the local diner, and the film takes an unexpected turn as the filmmakers track the nuances of first-time teenage love and its aftermath. Billy shares intimate and acute observations about himself and those around him without restriction. Penny, Billy’s mother, proves to be a valiant touchstone. She shares their difficult history with Billy’s addicted, abusive biological father and we see glimpses of how Billy’s attitude towards women was shaped by his inability to protect his own mother when he was a child. His fantasy world is similarly constructed from heroic desires to overcome demons from their shared past and prevail.

Billy the Kid is the coming of age journey of a teenage outsider who confronts obstacles with courage and awareness. He struggles to define himself apart from his past and others’ notions of who he is. The film challenges viewers to look beyond labels and to contemplate a teen’s undetermined future.

" Billy the Kid ventures into a small, contained community to focus on a single life and thereby turns the camera on the world."


"Venditti believes in willing away labels and seeing beauty without demanding to understand it, and the film proves her right."
-Film Maker Magazine

"...this gangly 15-year old from rural Maine reveals a startling sensitivity to the world and a sad wisdom about his place in it."
--LA Times

"In Jennifer Venditti's Billy the Kid, there's a long sequence in which an emotionally scarred 15-year-old boy finally works up the nerve to approach the girl he's been admiring from a painful distance. So deftly has the film aligned our emotional attachment to Billy, the ensuing exchange has all the raw, almost unbearable suspense of anything to be found in a contemporary Hollywood thriller. We pray that she will like Billy as much as we have come to."
--Geoff Pevere, The Toronto Star

"Easily the most-talked about documentary in this year's SXSW Film Fest, and with good reason, is Jennifer Venditti's 'Billy the Kid.'"
--Michael Lerman, Indiewire

"A near-perfect directorial debut"
--Diana Welch, The Austin Chronicle

The Music: Lissy Trullie