Controversial documentary 'Vaxxed' comes to Sarasota

- A controversial documentary is playing in the Bay Area. "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" attempts to link vaccinations to autism is playing at the Regal Hollywood Stadium 20 in downtown Sarasota.

The film recently got a lot of attention when actor Robert De Niro personally programmed the documentary into his Tribeca Film Festival in March. Breaking protocol, De Niro requested that the film be shown. But then less than a week later, the film was abruptly pulled after he announced that he had reviewed it with members of the scientific community.

The documentary attempts to link vaccinations with autism and presents before and after footage of several apparently healthy children who after receiving vaccines were said to regress into disabled youngsters.

The movie fails to mention the director and main on-camera expert, Andrew Wakefield, in 2010 lost his license to practice medicine in Britain.  The film also doesn't say the original 1998 study was later retracted by the journal that published it accusing Wakefield of scientific fraud.

Nonetheless, some feel there is a connection between vaccines and autism, including Sarasota entrepreneur and founder of 1-800 Ask Gary, Dr. Gary Kompothecras.

He and his wife have two children with autism. According to his website, "it is Dr. Gary's hope that expectant mothers begin to look beyond simple vaccine information provided by pharmaceutical giants and medical doctors and question what is happening."

The film plays through June 9.

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