Monday, June 20, 2016

WORDS by Andy Phillips

I remember when The King's Speech hit theaters. To see someone who stutters portrayed honestly, showing dread, self-doubt, fear and failure, but at the same time courage, perseverance, success (and then relief!), as well as the support from those who love us to keep pushing on... it really hit home. It was also unique for me because it was the first film that I can remember where the main character stuttered.

Now, a new short film by Andy Phillips called WORDS is getting critical acclaim at film festivals worldwide, and for good reason. Written by and starring the talented Andy Phillips, WORDS centers around the character William, a slam poet with a fantastic gift for words but whose stutter is holding those words back.

WORDS takes place and was filmed in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward, and shows off city's culture, art and hospitality. The film was originally screened at the Louisiana International Film Festival, and has also been well received in New York, Cannes and is screening at the Cayman International Film Festival in July.

I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of WORDS. I have to tell you, I didn't have to work hard to put myself into William's shoes. I felt every feeling that the main character felt. When William feels dread, I felt dread. When William felt shame, fear or joy, I felt all of those emotions. At multiple points of the film, I literally had tears running down my face. I don't remember the last time I've had the kind of experience I had while watching WORDS... but we need more films like this.

Kudos to Andy Phillips for a fantastic first film. And my personal thanks to Andy for sharing this film with me.

If WORDS is coming to a film festival near you, please make an effort to go see it!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Participate in a Study on the Genetics of Stuttering

I was browsing reddit today and came across an AMA (Ask Me Anything) from Shelly Jo Kraft, an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University.  Dr. Kraft is leading a new study to, in her own words, "discover more about the genes and biological mechanisms that increase risk of stuttering."

I've volunteered to participate in the study, and you can, too.  All you need to do is read and fill out a brief form, located here:

If you get picked, you'll get a phone call from either Dr. Kraft or another speech and language pathologist, and then you'll get a saliva collection kit.

That's right - you can spit into a vial and potentially help uncover a genetic basis for stuttering!

If you stutter and read my blog, I encourage you to participate. I mean... you don't want my genes to be the only thing they look at, do you?!?