Listen Jennifer Venditti tells MPR's Euan Kerr how she met Billy Price
Listen Jennifer Venditti talks about local reaction to her making the film
Listen Jennifer Venditti talks about the impact of the film on Billy Price
Listen Jennifer Venditti meets 'Billy the Kid'
"Billy the Kid" is a documentary that follows a few days in the life of Billy Price. He's a 15-year-old boy living in a small town in Maine.
He's bright, and he's mouthy. But he is one of those kids who makes people nervous. He's got a troubled past, and he has what are politely known as 'behavioral issues.'
The film lets an audience see the world through the eyes of a troubled, but likeable, young man as he goes to school and begins courting his first girlfriend. It has been winning best documentary awards at festivals around the world.
Director Jennifer Venditti first met Billy Price when she was casting a film about teenagers. She said she hadn't entered a high school in 15 years when she went to Maine to scout talent. She was amazed that the kind of cliques which she had experienced in the school lunch room as a teenager hadn't changed over the years.
She approached the group, which she identified as the school bullies, and asked if they had ever invited anyone else to eat with them. They said they had once, but the kid had freaked out so much that they would never do it again. When she asked who it was, they pointed to a boy sitting by himself.
It was Billy Price, a 15-year-old with black curly hair, a pony tail and an unflinching stare. Venditti immediately sensed that Billy was a different kind of a kid. But while he unnerved many of his peers, Venditti said she saw something else.