Kate Winslet has founded a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with autism around the world. Compelled during her narration of a documentary titled A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism, about a young Icelandic boy named Keli living with autism, Winslet became motivated to make a difference. Upon meeting Keli’s mother, Margret, Winslet was deeply moved by her far-reaching journey to find a way for her nonverbal son to learn to communicate. Her experience motivated the establishment of the Golden Hat Foundation. “The Golden Hat” was the title of a poem written by 12-year-old Keli Thorsteinsson.
The mission of the Golden Hat Foundation is the establishment of innovative living communities that offer people with autism the opportunity to learn to communicate effectively, receive an education, job training and enjoy recreational activities, all within a supportive social network. When given a suitable education and the means to communicate effectively, people with autism can truly realize their dreams.
The Golden Hat has partnered with Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. To support the cause, donations can be made online at www.goldenhatfoundation.org and www.virginunite.com/goldenhat.
“After watching the film A Mother’s Courage with my daughter one day, she turned to me and asked, ‘What if I wasn’t able to talk to you mummy?'” said Golden Hat Foundation director and founder, Kate Winslet. “As I thought about what that meant, for a mother not to be able to talk with her own child, I realized that I had to lend my voice to raise awareness of this rapidly increasing disorder.”
A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism, a documentary by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, tells the story of Margret, a mother who has done everything in her power to help her son. Keli is 11 years old and has severe autism â€” his mother doesn’t even know if he understands what goes on around him. Even if Margret holds no unrealistic expectations on behalf of Keli, she has the quenchless thirst for knowledge about the mysterious and complex condition that autism undeniably is. Along the way, Margret meets other families and hears their unique stories about how they too have been touched by autism.
On a course set to include the United States and Europe, she meets with scientists in the field of autism and autism therapies and the parents of autistic children who share her passion: to break down the wall between the children and the surrounding world. This journey becomes lengthier and more dramatic than she envisioned at the start. During the trip, she catches a glimpse of hope that her son can be helped to a larger degree than previously assumed.
A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism will be released theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on September 24, 2010. The film will be shown at the following theaters:
New York, NY
Quad Cinema (opens September 24)
Los Angeles, CA
Laemmle Music Hall (opens September 24)
Palm Desert, CA
Cinemas Palme D’or (runs October 8-14)
The DVD will be released on October 26, 2010.