Andrew Wakefield apparently doesn’t understand the first rule of documentaries

27 Sep

Andrew Wakefield has tried to make a new career for himself as a film maker. He runs a website producing YouTube and Vimeo videos in which he describes himself as “director”. He also serves as presenter. He has finished his documentary on the murder of Alex Spourdalakis, even though his fundraiser fell well short of its goal (“$9,532USD RAISED OF $200,000 GOAL”).

If one follows the link above to the Mr. Wakefield’s Autism Media Channel, one will find a trailer for his “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis” video. The narration talks about him being treated “in the words of witnesses…like an animal…” and at 26 seconds in one sees this image:


An image from that same video is also seen at about 20 seconds into the trailer.

As one who has followed various stories in the autism community I know that video well. I know it is taken from a video that made the news. A video about a completely different autistic.


That video can be found on YouTube. It’s a story of an autistic at the Judge Rotenberg Center. I’m unaware of Mr. Wakefield speaking out on the treatment at JRC, by the way.

Perhaps in the full documentary Mr. Wakefield uses the Judge Rotenberg Video and tells his audience that it is a completely different story than the one he is discussing. But he doesn’t in the trailer. In fact, he cut the frame so that one doesn’t see where the video originated.

First rule of documentary film making–document. Don’t make things up. Don’t pull in film from some other event. The second rule would probably be: the film maker should not be part of the story. Mr. Wakefield applied his “Autism Team” to give their brand of support to the Spourdalakis family. I do question whether Mr. Spourdalakis would be alive today without that interference. Without the false hope. A question one can bet will not be addressed in an unbiased fashion, if at all, in Mr. Wakefield’s documentary.

I’ll note something else odd in that trailer. Immediately after that clip from the JRC video, one hears someone talk about “exorcism needed to be performed” and “he was possessed”. What that is all about is as much your guess as mine. Is this an example of the bad support Mr. Spourdalakis was getting before Mr. Wakefield? The type of support he got from Mr. Wakefield’s “Autism Team”?

Let’s consider another of Mr. Wakefield’s recent videos. In it, Mr. Wakefield presents a little more of the audio Brian Hooker claims are from phone calls he secretly taped with a CDC researcher. Let’s assume this is correct. At about 56 seconds in, Mr. Wakefield shows us a silhouetted figure gesturing while the recording goes on.


Dramatic, isn’t it? Looks like Team Wakefield got someone from the CDC into a room, spilling secrets galore. It’s like a bad spy movie.

Looks to this observer like the man in the silhouette is an actor, not the CDC researcher. Why? Well, the face doesn’t look like the same person. The actor isn’t wearing glasses, the most recent photos of the researcher show him with glasses. The movements of the actor don’t really match the words in the audio. The audio quality is the same as in the phone call, but the actor doesn’t have a phone. Why would he be talking on the phone if he’s in a room? Why not use a recorder in the room? One can go on and on.

Perhaps Mr. Wakefield felt that this was artistic license: he didn’t have that video, so he used an actor in a recreation of events. Except that in real documentaries, one tells the audience when one is doing a recreation.

This last bit is from another of Mr. Wakefield’s recent videos. Not really relevant to the question of how does one make a good documentary. Instead this goes to one of the common complaints one hears from Mr. Wakefield’s supporters: whether he or they can be accurately called anti-vaccine. I rarely use the term, by the way. Here’s an image from another of Mr. Wakefield’s recent videos. It’s the picture of a pregnant woman holding a vaccine. The CDC logo is overlayed on her bare stomach and flames are burning from that logo. I cropped the image to remove the text imposed upon it.


How should we classify such an action? Is this an example of the methods of the “pro safe vaccine” community (as they sometimes like to be called)?

Mr. Wakefield’s new career as a film maker is an interesting choice. Frankly, he has a lot to learn.

By Matt Carey

14 Responses to “Andrew Wakefield apparently doesn’t understand the first rule of documentaries”

  1. mooncatadams September 27, 2014 at 23:50 #

    It all speaks to his low (and self-serving) values. Anything for a buck.

  2. damonmatthewwise September 27, 2014 at 23:54 #

    Reblogged this on fatheroftheaspiesmovement.

  3. reissd September 28, 2014 at 01:06 #

    If you’re going to do a documentary about a child’s murder, I think the requirements for accuracy are even higher. You owe it to the child. It’s unfortunate that already in the trailer Andrew Wakefield does not meet those requirements.

    • lilady September 28, 2014 at 16:47 #

      Apparently Andrew Wakefield feels he owes nothing to young Alex. After all we first saw running commentaries and pictures of Alex’s exploitation when he was alive, on Age of Autism, during May, 2013. We saw those bio-meddling mothers from the crank organization, Autism is Medical, visiting Alex in the hospital and making demands of the medical staff.

      We also saw the many videos of Alex on YouTube, placed there by the owner of all the videotape, Mr. Wakefield, after Alex’s mother and caretaker planned and executed the brutal murder of Alex.

      I first heard of this “documentary” within weeks of Alex’s murder, when Andrew Wakefield was interviewed during a radio broadcast. At that time he claimed to have 18 minutes of videotape of Alex, which he was trying to sell to network television stations. Then we saw Sharyl Attkisson, who still had a job at CBS News, featuring short clips of Alex tethered to his bed with a running dialogue from Wakefield’s partner at the Autism Media Channel, Polly Tommey. No mention there, that the odious Mr. Wakefield was the producer of the documentary.

      So…the length of the completed documentary is a lot longer than 18 minutes. There’s bound to be “filler” in that film…a lot of it.

  4. Broken Link September 28, 2014 at 01:31 #

    I wonder if that JRC video is copyrighted? It’s very poor film making to incorporate other people’s footage without permission.

    This whole effort is laughable. As you say, they were trying to fund raise $200K, but only succeeded in raising a risible amount. This reminds me of the “Billion Toddler March”, which was supposed to occur in 2013, but has not yet happened. It’s one of the “givens” of the anti-vaccine movement that there are millions, or billions of parents in the same situation. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality they are a tiny rump group with extreme views.

  5. Broken Link September 28, 2014 at 01:38 #

    Another sad/amusing aspect of this event is that the number of people who want to see this “documentary” is vanishingly small. Witness the showing in Westbrook Maine, presumably sponsored by Ginger Taylor. There are only two people who have bought tickets at this point, presumably GT and her hubby.

  6. Narad September 28, 2014 at 09:05 #

    Looks to this observer like the man in the silhouette is an actor, not the CDC researcher.

    It looks to this observer that it doesn’t even obey something resembling normal facial proportions. The haircut is kind of familiar, though.

  7. Narad September 28, 2014 at 09:18 #

    This actually becomes more comical with repeated staring. The “nose” was obviously “painted” in. The lowermost curve is the chin (or something). The lump between the brow and the imaginary nose is the start of the bridge of an actual nose.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) September 28, 2014 at 17:51 #


      not sure what you are seeing there. Here’s another frame.

      • dingo199 September 29, 2014 at 17:30 #

        First screenshot looked like Vitaly Klitschko.

  8. Todd W. (@tweek75) September 29, 2014 at 17:35 #

    Let us not forget that, IIRC, the video of Mr. Spourdalakis was originally going to be part of a paean to Wakefield & Co.’s amazing ability to “cure” autism. How the video would be used then changed dramatically upon Mr. Spourdalakis’ murder, with the new aim to place blame not on his murderer, but on the medical system that tried to help him.


  1. A new Autism Media Channel video. A chance to watch some sleight of hand | Left Brain Right Brain - October 17, 2014

    […] after the analysis.  The image of the meeting notes are being used as props to craft a story. Andrew Wakefield apparently doesn’t understand the first rule of documentaries.  And apparently whatever ability he had for reporting factually has long since faded since he […]

  2. Andrew Wakefield’s CDC Whistleblower documentary trailer. Words can not do this justice. | Left Brain Right Brain - November 20, 2014

    […] The sad part of this is the exploitative use of autistic children seen under severe distress.  This exploitation does nothing to serve the very real needs of our community.  Also seen towards the end are images of Avonte Oquendo, who went missing from his school and was found dead months later.  Again, exploitation which does nothing to serve our communities.  Mr. Wakefield is grabbing whatever film clips he can whether they are related or not to his purported story.  This is the same trick he used with a previous trailer he produced, where he spliced video from the Judge Rotenberg Center into a completely different story. […]

  3. Andrew Wakefield releases the trailer for his William Thompson video. Slick production and dishonesty | Left Brain Right Brain - March 22, 2016

    […] I will note that in the trailer for “Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis”, Wakefield spliced video from a completely different story. […]

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