Lizzie Gottlieb’s Today's Man to Have Its Broadcast Premiere on the Emmy Award–Winning PBS Series Independent Lens on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, at 10:00 PM
Film explores Asperger Syndrome through a loving portrait of the filmmaker’s brother
(San Francisco, CA)—A sister’s search to understand her brother’s strange and extraordinary life, Lizzie Gottlieb’s TODAY’S MAN tells the story of Nicky Gottlieb, who has grown from a genius child into a young man who doesn’t quite fit in the world. TODAY’S MAN will have its broadcast premiere on the Emmy Award–winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, at 10:00 PM (check local listings).
As Lizzie says, “From the time my brother was born, we could tell that he was not like other children. As a small child he had amazing skills—he could tell you what day of the week you were born, could figure prime numbers into the thousands, but he was incapable of holding a real conversation, of making friends. No one could tell us what might be wrong with Nicky or how to help him. I grew up struggling to understand a strange and brilliant and mysterious boy.”
At the age of 20, Nicky was finally diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Nicky exhibits many of the hallmarks of the syndrome, such as an inability to read social and facial cues, an obsession with patterns, schedules and numbers, and a fixation on certain television shows, ranging from Mr. Rogers to Jeopardy to Melrose Place (he loves Heather Locklear). Lizzie follows Nicky’s journey over the next six years, as his parents—former New Yorker magazine editor-in-chief Robert Gottlieb and actress Maria Tucci—encourage him to get a job, keep a job, move into his own apartment and create a life for himself. The cameras follow as he leaves the safety of his family home to go out into a world that he is not fully prepared for and that may not be fully prepared for him.
Says Lizzie, “Asperger’s syndrome has gotten lot of attention in the media lately, but the focus seems to be on young children with the disorder—‘little professors.’ No one seems to be asking what happens when these little professors grow up.
There is little public awareness of or resources for adults with Asperger’s syndrome. TODAY’S MAN is at once a personal exploration of a family drama and also a larger effort to create an awareness and understanding of this fascinating, mysterious disorder.”
To learn more about the film and the issues, visit the companion website for TODAY’S MAN at Independent Lens online. Get detailed information on the film watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions. The TODAY’S MAN companion website launches December 11 at pbs.org/independentlens/todaysman.
About the Filmmakers Lizzie Gottlieb (director) directs theater and film in New York City; TODAY’S MAN is her first documentary. It has screened at many film festivals, including Margaret Mead, Nantucket, Mendocino (Best Documentary award), and Mass Moca. Gottlieb and her brother Nicky continue to tour with the film, speaking to autism and Asperger groups. Lizzie was a founder and producer of Pure Orange Productions, a theater company dedicated to producing new plays Off Broadway. She directed the company’s productions of Keith Bunin’s Principality of Sorrows, Julia Jordan’s Tatjana in Color and Patrick Breen’s Marking (later made into the film Just a Kiss). Her short film, Why Don’t You Dance?—based on a Raymond Carver story—screened at festivals across the country.
About Independent Lens Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10:00 PM on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. Further information about the series is available at pbs.org/independentlens. The series producer is Lois Vossen.
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