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All Screening Info for
A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story


Riverview Theater
Minneapolis Premiere

"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" held it's "Minneapolis Premiere" at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis. Taking place in the classically restored theater, "A Friend Indeed" played to a nealy packed house and an incredible crowd reaction.

Minneapolis Premiere of A Friend Indeed - people in line outside the Riverview Theater

Back in the 1970s, Jack Doepke often took Bill to a movie at the Riverview, and he suggested this would be the perfect place for the Minneapolis Premiere. We were not disappointed!

Many people from the film were at the event, including Hollywood Screenwriter Barry Morrow, Filmmaker Lane Wyrick, Narrator Sally Wingert, Jack Doepke, Tom Walz, and many other people that knew Bill.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds attended the screening, from people involved in disability groups to church members, people that had read about the screening in the paper, friends of Bill and friends of Jack Doepke and Barry Morrow, to regular Riverview Theater attendees.

Wyrick worked closely with Mike Gude of the Arc of Minnesota to publicize the event to disability groups, and Steve Larson also of the Arc of Minnesota introduced Wyrick at the screening.

Sally Wingert, Jack Doepke, Barry Morrow

Sally Wingert, Jack Doepke, and Barry Morrow at Riverview Screening in Minneapolis

A nearly full house at the Riverview Theater for A Friend Indeed

A near capacity crowd for the Minneapolis Public Premiere of "A Friend Indeed"

Filmmaker Lane Wyrick speaking before screening of A Friend Indeed at Riverview Theater

Director/Editor Lane Wyrick introducing screening at the Riverview Theater

“I think the reason audiences have embraced ‘A Friend Indeed’ is because it is not only very funny and highly inspirational, but it also allows viewers to look beyond Bill’s disabilities and care for him as a human being,” Wyrick said. “It’s a fulfilling emotional experience that people will remember for a long time. A box of Kleenex is highly recommended!”

This was the first night for the availability of the Deluxe Edition DVD, and nearly 200 DVDs were sold immediately following the screening, with many people buying 3 at a time!

The DVD is now available on

"A Friend Indeed" was digitally projected with a great sound system, and the audience was thoroughly engrossed in the production - lots of laughter, tears, and ultimately inspiration.

New Strand Film Festival - West Liberty, Iowa

"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" was voted the #1 Audience Favorite at the New Strand Film Festival, in West Liberty, making it the 5th consecutive film festival that it has been honored with this top award.

New Strand Film Festival

"A Friend Indeed" was selected as the finale film of the festival that is sponsored by the West Liberty Public Library and the New Strand Theater. Wyrick also received the Iowa Filmmaker Award and truly enjoyed the festival and audience reaction to the screening.

Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival - Iowa

"A Friend Indeed" was voted the #1 Audience Favorite and also won Best Documentary in the 9th Annual Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival at the independently run Collins Road Theater in Marion, Iowa.

Lane Wyrick receiving Audience Favorite from Fest director Scott Chrisman

Lane Wyrick with Festival Director Scott Chrisman shortly after
being presented with the "#1 Audience Favorite" Trophy

"A Friend Indeed" was selected to be screened amongst 30 films from indies to Hollywood produced films in this established festival. It was shown twice during the festival, receiving a standing ovation at both the evening screening and the awards ceremony.

Lane Wyrick hosted a Q&A after both screenings in this well-attended festival, and enjoyed meeting with many other filmmakers as well as several people from disability groups and families of people with disabilities from the area.

St. Olaf College - Northfield, MN

"A Friend Indeed" had a successful screening as part of a Social Work conference on Human Dignity at St. Olaf College where Barry Morrow attended shortly before meeting Bill Sackter back in 1972.

Tara Jeno of Cedar House made the screening possible

Lane Wyrick with Tara Jeno of Cedar House who was the sponsor of the St. Olaf Screening

A few miles north of Faribault Institution, where Bill spent 44 years of his life, the Northfield, MN audience was very receptive to this story of Bill's triumph. Lane Wyrick met many people who were from disability organizations around the state, and also spoke with two people that worked at the institution and remembered Bill. They also spoke of the appalling conditions and treatment of the people confined in the institution.

Lane Wyrick during Q&A session after St. Olaf Screening

There was a large crowd that included many people with disabilities that enjoyed the screening

Wyrick spoke to the crowd for around 45 minutes after the screening. Much thanks goes to Tara Jeno of Cedar House, Pam Carlson of St. Olaf College, and the St. Olaf School of Social Work students who made this event possible.

Omaha Film Festival - Omaha, Nebraska

"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" was voted the #1 Audience Favorite at the 4th Annual Omaha Film Festival in Nebraska.

Lane Wyrick at the Omaha Film Festival

Lane Wyrick attended 3 days of this wonderful festival held in a real modern movie theater complex, The Great Escape Theater, and enjoyed interacting with the audiences at the two screenings, and an additional screening on Sunday after being voted the #1 Audience Favorite.

The Great Escape Theater played "A Friend Indeed"

A wide variety of people of all ages attended the screenings, including several people with disabilities and their families. There were also representatives from Arc and other disability organizations in Nebraska who enjoyed the documentary and spoke with Wyrick extensively after the screenings.

Lane Wyrick with Omaha Film Festival directors

Omaha Film Festival Directors Jason Levering, Marc Longbrake (Lane Wyrick) and Jeremy Decker

"A Friend Indeed" also received the highest audience rating on b-Side Entertainment, the festival's unofficial tally of audience interest. The Omaha Film Festival competition featured many great documentaries and feature films that were selected amongst hundreds of film entries.

Salt Lake City Library Theater - Utah

"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" screening
and "Rain Man" 20th Anniversary Celebration

"A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" was screened in the morning as part of a day-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of "Rain Man". Lane Wyrick was introduced by Kelly Rooney (Mickey Rooney's daughter) before the screening to a very enthusiastic crowd. After the screening Wyrick introduced special guests Barry & Bev Morrow, with Q&A in the state-of-the-art facility in the Salt Lake City Library Theater.

Fran and Kim Peek, Barry Morrow, Stephen Carnegie and Lane Wyrick at Salt Lake City screening

Fran and Kim Peek, Barry Morrow, Stephen Carnegie, and Lane Wyrick at Salt Lake City Celebration

Barry was Bill Sackter's legal guardian, and after writing the screenplay for the made-for-tv movie "Bill" (1981) starring Mickey Rooney and Dennis Quaid, he went to Hollywood to pursue a screenwriting career. Barry met Kim Peek, the real life inspiration for Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man", and Barry went on to win an Academy Award for his screenplay "Rain Man" starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, which was based on the "mega-savant" Kim Peek, who was honored in the afternoon events.

Then the 20th anniversary celebration of "Rain Man" honored Fran and Kim Peek. This was the first time that the Bill Sackter documentary and Rain Man has been celebrated together. The event was the concept of Stephen Carnegie of Salt Lake City who is also a savant who can draw near-photographic pictures at incredible speed and is developing children's books based on many of the presenters at this event.

The Salt Lake City event had many special people

Top: Lane Wyrick - Kim Peek, Barry Morrow, Fran Peek - Brad Smith, Barry Morrow, Stephen Carnegie
Middle: Nick Scott gets up out of his wheelchair - Barry Morrow
Bottom: Lane Wyrick, Kelly Rooney - Bev Morrow, Faith Ecklund - Stephen Carnegie, Lane Wyrick

Other people that performed included Nick Scott who was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident. He had trained his muscles so well as a bodybuilder that he was able to squeeze his abdominal muscles and get up and stand out of his wheelchair to the tune of "Lift Me Up" by Josh Grobin. And Faith Ecklund who after an accident and being confined to a wheelchair was told she would barely be able to speak, but now is an accomplished singer.

There were many other presenters, and when Kelly Rooney was onstage, she had a phone patch to Mickey Rooney who congratulated Barry Morrow on his accomplishments. Lane Wyrick introduced Barry, and then the event honored Kim Peek and his father Fran.

It was truly an inspiring event that I will always remember!

Salt Lake City Presentation

The Arc's National Convention - Albuquerque, NM

Lane Wyrick gave a presentation on "A Friend Indeed" at The Arc's National Convention in Albuquerque for attendees representing chapters of The Arc across the nation.

Lane Wyrick speaks at Arc National Convention

Scenes from the movie were shown during the main plenary session, and Wyrick discussed the documentary and Bill's life at the event held at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

National Arc Attendees

Wyrick screened the entire documentary to convention attendees, and also announced the kickoff of availability of the documentary for Arc chapters (and the rest of the public to purchase a Public Performance Site License and to have a Filmmaker Presentation of the documentary, allowing the documentary to be screened around the country.

National Arc Convention BannerThe Arc was very important to Bill, and he made many appearances along with Barry Morrow at various functions to meet with people with disabilities in the last years of Bill's life. During this convention, there were two recipients of the national "Bill Sackter Award" awarded to people with disabilities that were able to make a difference and live productive lives. Bill's legacy lives on, and now people will know the real Bill!

The Arc is a national advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1950, The Arc includes over 140,000 members affiliated through more than 850 state and local chapters across the nation. More information at The Arc's Website


Citizen Advocates of Washington County- West Bend, Wisconsin

Citizen Advocates of Washington County is a group based in West Bend, Wisconsin that works with their community to make "matches" between people with disabilities and other people or organizations in the community. Mark Brunner, President of CA, organized the screening for the annual meeting of their group which was held in the brand new West Bend Mutual facilities, who sponsored the event.

Wyrick screened "A Friend Indeed" to a very enthusiastic crowd that was three times larger than their usual annual meeting, and discussed the film afterwards with many of CA's sponsors, people with disabilities and their families, and members of the community that have been matches.

Screening at Citizen Advocates

Kansas International Film Festival

"A Friend Indeed" received a standing ovation at the Kansas International Film Festival at Glenwood Arts in Overland Park, Kansas and was voted the #1 Audience Favorite, and received the Audience Trophy along with a one-week theatrical screening at the theater --- The theatrical screening was a great success, so "A Friend Indeed" was held over for a second week!

Kansas International Film Festival

Check out the reviews received for the documentary in Kansas City.

Lane Wyrick with Kansas International Film Festival Director Brian Mossman

Kansas International Film Festival Director Brian Mossman and Lane Wyrick
shortly before the screening of "A Friend indeed - The Bill Sackter Story"

Hardacre Film Festival

In its film festival debut, "A Friend Indeed" was the winner of Best Documentary, Best Iowa Film and was voted the #1 Audience Favorite at the Hardacre Film Festival in Tipton, Iowa. Lane Wyrick was present in this competitive international film festival.

Hardacre Film Festival - Lane on stage and all filmmakers

Festival director Travis Alden said, "It’s a documentary that’s just super-well-done. It’s very moving, very emotional. I’m not embarrassed to say it brought me to tears. It really renews your positive outlook toward the human spirit.”

Hardacre Film Festival

Director Lane Wyrick discusses the World Premiere of "A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story" on PATV a week before the event (30 min.)

World Premiere - Hancher Auditorium - Iowa City

A Friend Indeed - The Bill Sackter Story had its World Premiere at Iowa City's main entertainment venue Hancher Auditorium.

Hancher audience of 1175

An enthusiastic crowd of 1175 people from all across the country came to see the first public screening of the final 90 minute production. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the documentary received a standing ovation.

Barry Morrow welcomes Lane Wyrick on stage at World Premiere

In attendance were Academy Award Winning screenwriter Barry Morrow and his wife Bev, filmmaker Lane Wyrick, music composer Peter Bloesch, Jack Doepke, Tom Walz, Rabbi Jeff Portman, and many of the principle cast members and contributors. Following the screening, Lane Wyrick, Barry Morrow, Peter Bloesch and Jack Doepke hosted a panel discussion.

Lane Barry Peter and Jack all onstage at Hancher Premiere

Lane Wyrick, Barry Morrow, Peter Bloesch and Jack Doepke at World Premiere

The reception, sponsored by the University of Iowa School of Social Work, followed in the lobby. Many people that knew Bill in person, as well as those that had no knowledge of Bill's story or the Mickey Rooney tv movie "Bill" all had a chance to mingle and discuss the film.

Reception at Hancher

This great event, which is captured on video and will be posted in the "Videos and Photos" section of this site soon, was the last performance to be held at Hancher Auditorium. Three days after the screenings, the building was evacuated and within a week, major flooding destroyed much of the building, causing $13 million worth of damage.

Viewer Reactions at World Premiere


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