We're pleased to share this emotional review of Spellers, The Movie, by Levi Quackenboss. Subscribe to the Substack here.
SPELLERS has documented a miracle
For my friend, JB Handley, and his champion speller, Jamie.
I know you all will ask when and where you can see this life-changing film. I’ve heard rumors that it’s launching April 2nd, on World Autism Day. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know how see it. In the meantime, follow the SPELLERS Instagram and sign up for the SPELLERS mailing list for news.
When the opening scenes of SPELLERS began, for a moment I doubted that I would make it through the film that day. JB Handley has been many things to me in our seven-year friendship. A force. A shield. A contributor, a voice, a friend. A big, strong, soft-hearted human in need. A ray of hope who needs an occasional spiritual pep talk to make it through a dark day. I haven't met JB's son, Jamie, but I've said a few words to him when JB puts our calls on speaker. JB tells me about Jamie's big smile as he listens. Jamie is autistic and doesn't talk, and he's been that way since he was a toddler.
The film opens with another young man, Cade Larson, filled with joy, cruising past the camera on a surfboard.
I've had the pleasure of spending several days with Cade, over a couple of trips. My children have sat with him at the dinner table, munching on tater tots at the country club near his Minnesota home. Cade is also autistic and has echolalia but otherwise doesn't speak. While he helplessly repeats everything said to him, you know he means "yes" with the enthusiasm he infuses into his echos. Yes, he wants all of us to go on the boat. Yes, he wants two orders of tater tots for dinner tonight. No, he doesn't want the dogs around.