Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Earlier this summer, ICI and Think College hosted a screening of Dan Habib’s latest film, Intelligent Lives, in the Student Center at UMass Boston. It was a wonderful event, with lots of excitement, a diverse & enthusiastic audience, and an excellent panel discussion following the film.

We were happy to welcome educators, self-advocates, families, support staff, local legislators, and more to this event. Guests had a chance to mingle with actress and advocate, Marianne Leone and Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper (who are also co-producers of the film), director Dan Habib, ICI Director ICI Director Tom Sannicandro, and film stars Naomie Monplaisir and her brother, Steven, Micah Fialka-Feldman, and Emma Fialka-Feldman, Micah’s sister.

Before the film screening we shared resources from ICI and Think College that addressed one of the main themes in Intelligent Lives: with the right support and encouragement, people with intellectual disabilities can achieve personal goals related to college and work. A new series of publications called We Can Think College for teachers, students, and parents were shared for the first time at this event, and are now available on our website. Stay tuned for others this fall! Following the film, the film’s producers, director and stars answered questions about personal experiences, their hopes for the impact this film will have, and what still needs to happen in the world in order for people with disabilities to be included and respected.

Dan Habib had this to say about the event: “Think College and the ICI have been central partners since this the very early days of production on INTELLIGENT LIVES. To share and discuss the film with hundreds of educators, families, advocates, service providers and the general public was incredibly powerful for me as a filmmaker. One thing was clear: there was a shared commitment in the room to elevate expectations and opportunities for young adults with disabilities. And access to college was front and center in our discussion.”

And Emma Fialka-Feldman shared this about her experience in the movie and on the panel: “As a sibling to a brother with an intellectual disability and a public school teacher, the ICI's showing and panel discussion of Intelligent Lives reminded me how important models and stories of high expectations, dream-building, and community-growing are for everyone in our world. … Everyone has a role to play in making our communities, schools, and workforce value the contributions of people with intellectual disabilities. The time is now!”

We look forward to our continued partnership with Dan Habib to promote the message of acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and are pleased to have so many helpful resources to support the use of Dan’s film in education and advocacy.