Kate Winslet sets up autism charity after narrating Icelandic film

Inspired by narrating the international version of an acclaimed Icelandic documentary about autism, actress Kate Winslet has set up a new international charity to help people living with the condition.

A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism (Called The Sunshine Boy in Icelandic) is a moving documentary about Keli, his mother Margret and other family members struggling to make Keli’s life as fulfilling as it should be.

Upon meeting Keli’s mother Margret, Kate was deeply moved by her far-reaching journey to find a way for her non-verbal son to learn to communicate. Her experience motivated her to set up 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 organisation believes.

“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?’” says 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 realised that I had to lend my voice to raise awareness of this rapidly increasing disorder.”

A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism will be released theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on September 24, 2010. The DVD will then be released across the USA on 26th October 26.

The documentary centres around Margret and her autistic son Keli. Kate Winslet narrates Margret’s quest for knowledge about this mysterious and complex condition, as she travels from her home in Iceland to the United States and Europe, meeting scientists and other experts, as well as other families touched by autism. For more information on the Golden Hat Foundation, please visit the website at www.goldenhatfoundation.org.

In keeping with the Icelandic theme, the foundation’s website was designed by the Icelandic advertising agency, White House, by designer Vala Thora Sigurdardottir: www.hvitahusid.is/english/.

The Golden Hat Foundation has partnered with Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. To support the cause and donations can be made online at www.goldenhatfoundation.org and www.virginunite.com/goldenhat.