Winslet has amassed a collection of photos from an amazing array of her friends and renowned personalities who have donned this special hat, taken a self portrait, and passed the hat along from one person to another. Among the participants whose photos are featured in the book are Anna Wintour, Ben Stiller, Brigitte Lacombe, Christina Aguilera, David Souffan, Demi Moore, Don Cheadle, Elijah Wood, Ellen Page, Javier Bardem, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jude Law, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Laura Dern, Liev Schreiber, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maria Sharapova, Marion Cottillard, Meryl Streep, Michael Kors, Naomi Watts, Pedro Almodovar, Peter Sarsgaard, Ricky Gervais and many, many more.
Winslet found inspiration for this project in her friends Margret Dagmar Ericsdottir and Ericsdottir"s son Keli, who lives with a severe form of non-verbal autism. Winslet met Ericsdottir when she narrated a documentary film, A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back To Autism, about the family"s mission to find a way to connect with Keli. Eventually specialists “unlocked” Keli by teaching him ways to communicate. Despite hardship, Keli now composes beautiful and deeply moving poetry. One of the poems, among the many included in the book, is called “The Golden Hat,” which describes a magical hat that enables an autistic boy to communicate.
After completing the narration for the film, Kate asked Margret: “Would it help if I started a foundation to raise awareness of the plight of people with autism who are unable to communicate?” With that idea, and with inspiration from Keli’s poem, The Golden Hat, the Golden Hat Foundation was born. In addition to raising awareness, the Foundation will raise money to build innovative and specialized campuses which will offer opportunities for education, job training, social supports, recreation, and assisted living.
THE GOLDEN HAT brings together the story of Winslet’s friendship with Ericsdottir and family as well as Keli’s original poetry and writings with photographs of these celebrities and cultural icons who each share a personal statement about what their first words would be if they too were unable to communicate but suddenly “unlocked” after years of silence.
Karp said, “When we met with Kate Winslet, she told us how she became so impassioned about this issue, and we were quickly convinced that this book will both raise awareness and tell a remarkable story.”
Kolen, who will edit the book, said, “The most moving aspects of this book are Keli’s extraordinary poetry and Kate and Margret”s personal journey. It is a privilege to work with all three of these exceptional talents. THE GOLDEN HAT will be a beautiful book with a vital message, to benefit a most worthy cause."
Publication is planned for November, 2011.