John Michael Williams is Today’s Honoree

JohnMichaelWilliamsThe multi-talented John Michael Williams is a singer, songwriter, director, and writer. Born in a suburb north of Boston, he is the oldest of eight children. For as long as he can remember, John has been performing — including writing music and children’s books as a teenager. He was the protégé of James Houghton, accomplished opera performer and Dean of Music at Boston University. Houghton said of John’s voice, “It is a gift that comes along rarely.”

John’s first film, The Easter Egg Escapade, is a “tour de force” (The Boston Globe). John wrote the screenplay, the music and lyrics, and the original children’s book on which the film is based. John also played the lead character in a cast that includes Brooke Shields, James Woods, Natalie Cole, Sandra Bernhardt, Joey Pantoliano, Eli Wallach, and Nancy Kerrigan. Memorably, John wrote the film’s love theme and performed the duet with Natalie Cole.

Among the film’s numerous honors are the “Best Music in a Film” award at the Jackson Hole Film Festival, Best Animated Film at Spudfest, and honors at the Hollywood Film Festival.

After completing The Easter Egg Escapade, John went on to write the children’s books Wondering William and the Sandman, Rules of the Road Toads, and many others. John has performed on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon as well as in NBC’s Halloween on Ice, which he also wrote. He recently directed and composed the score for the Guatemalan documentary film “No Money for Butter.” He also directed The Gloucester 18, a documentary about the Gloucester pregnancy pact, a story that grabbed headlines worldwide. The film earned lavish praise from national press.

Most recently, he directed Bridgend, a riveting documentary about a pattern of deaths in a small town in South Wales. John spent 5 years in Bridgend to discover why 99 teenagers committed suicide in this small town two hours from London.  The powerful, moving documentary “Bridgend” is now available on Netflix and other Video on Demand sites.  “Bridgend” investigates the events that caused the sleepy little town to become the subject of gruesome speculation across the United Kingdom.

Youth Suicide Statistics:

-Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2010 CDC WISQARS)

-Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2010 CDC WISQARS)

-More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.

Visit John Michael Williams and Bridgend for more information.

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