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A documentary film about three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities who challenge perceptions of intelligence.
A documentary film about three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities who challenge perceptions of intelligence.
275 backers pledged $35,104 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$35,104

275

STRETCH GOAL!

We did it! Thanks to the generous backing of 200+ supporters, we hit our $30,000 goal after 17 days! We still have time left in the Kickstarter campaign, and your support will allow us to pursue a dream we’ve had for quite some time...but had to delay until all our production funds were raised. So here it is, our Kickstarter stretch goal. 

Develop a Young Adult Engagement Campaign - $10,000 Stretch Goal (Total Kickstarter Goal - $40,000)  

We are partnering with LeDerick Horne to help us launch the Intelligent Lives Project’s Young Adult Engagement Campaign. LeDerick will work with our Young Adult Advisory Board, project staff, and young people around the country — and internationally — to plan and execute this campaign. 

Labeled as neurologically impaired in the third grade, LeDerick defies any label. He’s a dynamic spoken-word poet; an inspiring motivational speaker; a bridge-builder between learners and leaders; a husband and father who serves as a role model for all races, genders, and generations; and a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. 

LeDerick Horne
LeDerick Horne

Dan Habib first met LeDerick when they worked together on the I Am Norm Youth Summit that grew out of Including Samuel. To see LeDerick in action, please watch this short video about the creation of I am Norm, produced by Working Films with support from the Fledgling Fund.  

The Young Adult Engagement Campaign will accompany the release of the Intelligent Lives film with a dynamic, multi-platform campaign designed to engage youth & young adults and increase the implementation of inclusive practices in education and employment. The initiative will enable youth & young adults to become active advocates for access and self-determination by sharing personal stories and videos and participating in live and virtual screening events.  

The central characters in Intelligent Lives - Micah, Naieer & Naomie - personify what can be achieved. The Young Adult Engagement Campaign will provide the tools our young partners need to, as LeDerick says, “Dare to Dream” what is possible.

Thank you for making this possible! Please check out the new rewards associated with this stretch goal, detailed below.

THE PROJECT

Produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib, Intelligent Lives follows the stories of three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities—Micah, Naieer, and Naomie—as they challenge perceptions of intelligence while navigating high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper, the narrator of the documentary, contextualizes the lives of these central characters at key junctures of the film as he unpacks the sordid track record of intelligence testing, as well as racial and class disparities in the United States. Watch the 14-minute Intelligent Lives preview film HERE.

This feature-length documentary film (approximately 80 minutes) will explore how our society’s narrow views of intelligence have led to the segregation of people with intellectual disabilities. The film will also capture an emerging paradigm in which people like Micah, Naomie, and Naieer have accessed supports—including technology, peers, and the high expectations of family and educators—which allow them to successfully participate in a more fulfilling life through general education classes; college; paid, integrated employment; relationships; and other aspects of community living. The Executive Producers on the project include Chris Cooper, Marianne Leone Cooper (see their video below), and Amy Brenneman, whose teenage daughter, Charlotte, has a disability.

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Habib has devoted his filmmaking career to creating intimate, complex films about the lives of people with disabilities. His first film, Including Samuel, documented his family's efforts to include their son Samuel (who experiences cerebral palsy) in every facet of their lives. His 2013 film Who Cares About Kelsey? focused on the inclusion of youth with emotional and behavioral disabilities. The films reached millions of individuals and helped people all around the world value, include, support, and empower individuals with disabilities.  

Currently, laws are making their way through Congress that would chip away at the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the rates of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in school and employment are dismally low—and stagnant. Now is the time to put a spotlight on people with intellectual disabilities: to document their struggles, their advancements, and how we, as a society, must learn to honor the diversity of the human experience in order to break the cycles of discrimination, isolation, and poverty that individuals with disabilities often face—and open doors to inclusive education and integrated employment.

WHY THIS FILM MATTERS

The legacy of intelligence testing and other narrow measures of human capacity have created low expectations for people with intellectual disabilities. Combined with the underutilization of innovative approaches in schools and the workplace, people with intellectual disabilities are often denied access to inclusive education, meaningful employment, and technological supports. These traditional methods of measuring of a person’s intelligence and potential continue to drive U.S. policies, practices, and perceptions throughout government and society.

Nationally, employment, educational, and social outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities are dismal when compared to their non-disabled peers and individuals with other disabilities. The majority of the 6.5 million Americans identified as intellectually disabled continue to live segregated lives based on low expectations. Only 17% of students with intellectual disabilities are fully included in general education classrooms alongside their non-disabled peers; 40% receive a regular high school diploma; and, as adults, only 15% are employed.  

Naomie at Empire Beauty School
Naomie at Empire Beauty School

The central characters of Intelligent Lives show us that there is another way. Micah is a student at Syracuse University. He has a vibrant social life, a job co-teaching university classes, and a love of social media. Naieer is a talented artist and immersed in general education classes, basketball games, and a wide social circle at a public high school in Dorchester, MA. Naomie is 25, she sings and dances in her Creole church alongside her hip-hop producer brother, and she is on the cusp of obtaining her first paid, integrated job.

Naieer working on a painting
Naieer working on a painting

THE IMPACT

In addition to our all-star production and outreach team (detailed below), we have more than 30 national outreach partners (organizations ranging from the American Association of People with Disabilities to the United States Business Leadership Network) that are committed to ensuring that this film project reaches as many people as possible. (A full list of national outreach partners can be found HERE.)  

Once the film is completed, we have a national outreach and engagement plan to impact over 3 million individuals through congressional briefings; community and conference screenings/discussions; film festivals; national broadcast; VOD streaming; and an extensive educational kit (DVD and digital).  

Your help WILL make a difference. With your support, these viewers will be inspired to change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, as well as advocate for broad-based systems change which will:  

  • Commit to ensuring that people with disabilities, who navigate the world in a non-traditional manner, are seen as valued and intelligent members of society involved in the workplace, general education, higher education, and relationships.  
  • Provide the essential supports enabling people with labels of intellectual and other disabilities to thrive.  
  • Desegregate and include children and adults with labels of intellectual disability in the mainstream of employment, general education, higher education, and community life.  
  • Highlight the implications of policy changes (e.g., health care reform, Medicaid cuts, weakening ADA and IDEA) that could endanger inclusive education and integrated employment.
Intelligent Lives Preview Film viewers
Intelligent Lives Preview Film viewers

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Our team and national partners are poised to reach millions of people, but we need to finish the film before this can happen!  

Here’s where you come in. We need to raise $30,000 through Kickstarter to complete production and post-production by February 2018. All of the key players are in place—we have a solid timeline and detailed plans, but we need the funding to finish the job. As part of a non-profit, university institute, we’re responsible for all of our own fundraising. Kickstarter will provide vital funds which will be used to finish the film and bring Intelligent Lives to life!  

Dan Habib with Micah, Amy Brenneman, and others
Dan Habib with Micah, Amy Brenneman, and others

In addition, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform, so if we don’t receive $30,000 by Monday, November 20, we won’t receive a penny!  

Become a backer of this important project today and please share our campaign broadly with your network in whatever way works best for you: via social media, email, or word-of mouth.  

KICKSTARTER BUDGET

Note: The film is part of the Institute on Disability’s Inclusive Communities Project. The project’s Kickstarter fiscal sponsor is ABLE NH (Advocates Building Lasting Equality in New Hampshire). ABLE NH is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that advocates for the civil and human rights of all children and adults with disabilities and promotes full participation by improving systems of support, connecting families, inspiring communities, and influencing public policy. To learn more about ABLE NH, please visit www.ablenh.org.

Some of our great rewards (plus new, stretch goal rewards) include:

 

...and more! Check out the right column for the full list and longer descriptions of each reward.

THE TEAM

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL LISTING OF TEAM MEMBERS

YOUNG ADULT ADVISORY BOARD

We believe that in order to affect meaningful change for young people with disabilities, they need to be part of the process! Therefore, we’ve engaged six young adults with disabilities on an advisory board. These individuals attended the National Strategy Summit and continue to participate in monthly online meetings, providing enhanced opportunity to evaluate how the project is progressing and provide real-time feedback.  

CLICK HERE FOR YOUNG ADULT ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER BIOS

Risks and challenges

Affecting social change is challenging, but Habib and his team have extensive experience using documentary film as a catalyst for transformation. Habib's film Including Samuel has been translated into 17 languages and is being used internationally as a tool for increasing inclusive education opportunities for children with disabilities. Who Cares About Kelsey? has been used in every U.S. state and internationally as an education and training tool for positive behavioral supports and person-centered planning.

We look forward to creating similar impact for individuals with intellectual disabilities with Intelligent Lives and will rely on our experienced film team, national partners, and you to help ensure our success.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    With Gratitude

    You get recognition on Facebook and our eternal gratitude.

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    Inclusion Advocate

    Choose a digital download of either Including Samuel or Who Cares About Kelsey?, Dan Habib’s other feature-length documentary films.

    Including Samuel, Habib’s first award-winning documentary film, chronicles the Habib family’s efforts to include their son Samuel, who experiences cerebral palsy, in every facet of their lives.

    Who Cares About Kelsey? documents the lives of students with emotional/behavioral challenges, and shows innovative educational approaches that help these students to succeed—while improving the overall school culture and climate.

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    #ConnollyTough

    Receive a sneak peek download of Dan Habib’s latest, short documentary film, Mr. Connolly Has ALS, before its public release in 2018. The film chronicles Gene Connolly’s final year as principal of Concord High School and features CHS students asking Connolly about the most profound and personal aspects relating to his life with ALS.

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    Get the Poster

    Stayed tuned for the release of our Intelligent Lives poster, which will be unveiled during the Kickstarter campaign! After the campaign, you'll receive an 11" x 17" poster, signed by Dan Habib, to commemorate your involvement with bringing Intelligent Lives to life!

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    Get Naieer’s Artwork

    Choose between two reproductions of Naieer Shaheed’s original paintings (11” x 17” poster). Naieer is one of Intelligent Lives’ main characters.

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    Get Early Access

    Be among the first to see Intelligent Lives with a digital download!

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    Get Caught in the "Undercurrent"

    Receive a signed copy of "Undercurrent," the newly-released album by Grammy-nominated Reggae artist Matisyahu. Matisyahu is donating some of his music to the film based on his commitment to human rights.

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
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    Get to Know Jesse

    Receive a signed copy of Marianne Leone Cooper’s book, “Jesse: A Mother’s Story.” Originally published as “Knowing Jesse,” this “fine and moving” memoir (Los Angeles Times) by actress Marianne Leone tells the uplifting story of her son’s life. In fiercely honest, surprisingly funny, and sometimes heartbreaking prose, Leone chronicles her transformation by the remarkable life and untimely death of her child, who experienced cerebral palsy. “We know that kids like Jesse can have full, included lives and contribute meaningfully to their families and communities,” Leone says. “Intelligent Lives will help show that to the world.”

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
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    Get Empowered

    Receive a signed copy of LeDerick's book, "Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success." Told with the authentic voices of adults with hidden disabilities, this encouraging, eye-opening book will help you guide students on the Path to Disability Pride and support their success in the classroom and community. Co-authored with Margo Izzo, Ph.D and includes a forward written by Dan Habib.

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    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
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    Be a Virtual VIP

    Participate in a virtual screening of Intelligent Lives featuring a chat with Filmmaker and Producer Dan Habib and several people featured in the film.

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    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
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    You are Credit Worthy

    Show the world you’re committed to inclusion by having your name listed in the credits! Alternately, you may choose to include a brief dedication to a loved one.

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    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
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    Be a Change Agent

    Bring Intelligent Lives to your community! The screening toolkit (still in development) will include discussion guides, poster and invitation templates, a social media kit, sample press releases, still photos and videos, etc. For an example of a screening toolkit developed for one of Dan Habib’s previous films, please visit: http://www.whocaresaboutkelsey.com/host-a-screening/host-a-screening-kit.

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
    • Plus digital download of Mr. Connolly Has ALS
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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Virtual Visit from Dan Habib

    Dan Habib will speak to you or your class/organization/business, via Skype, for 30 minutes. What you discuss is up to you! Interested in talking about Intelligent Lives, inclusive education, or documentary filmmaking? Work with Dan and his assistant to identify what bests suits your needs and Dan’s diverse skill set.

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
    • Plus digital download of Mr. Connolly Has ALS
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    Virtual Visit from LeDerick

    LeDerick will speak to you or your class/organization/business, via Skype, for 30 minutes. LeDerick uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities. His workshops, keynote speeches, and performances reach thousands of students, teachers, legislators, policy makers, business leaders, and service providers each year.

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    Get Festival Fever

    Intelligent Lives will begin its film festival tour in spring 2018. Be a VIP at a festival along the way!

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
    • Plus digital download of Mr. Connolly Has ALS
    • Plus Your Name, or a dedication to your loved one, in the credits
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    Dan and the Film Come to You

    Dan Habib is an experienced presenter who uses his films to lead discussions about the challenges and benefits of inclusive education and related topics across the country and internationally. With hundreds of screening events under his belt, Dan will work with you to develop a presentation to meet your business/organization/school’s needs. Choose to screen Intelligent Lives, and/or one of his previous films, Including Samuel or Who Cares About Kelsey?. (24 hour maximum travel time, travel expenses not included.)

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
    • Plus digital download of Mr. Connolly Has ALS
    • Plus Your Name, or a dedication to your loved one, in the credits
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    LeDerick Comes to You

    LeDerick regularly addresses an array of academic, government, social, and business groups, including appearances at the White House, the United Nations, Harvard University, and multiple State Departments of Education. His work addresses the challenges of all disabilities, uniting the efforts of diverse groups in order to achieve substantive, systemic change. (24-hour maximum travel time, travel expenses not included.)

    Includes:
    • Plus digital download of Intelligent Lives
    • Plus digital download of Mr. Connolly Has ALS
    • Plus Your Name, or a dedication to your loved one, in the credits
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    Be an Inclusion Champion

    Help end segregation, promote inclusion & increase opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities by being an Inclusion Champion! You’ll receive all the rewards listed above and be part of the movement to accept, value, and include ALL people in our schools, the workforce, and our communities.

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Funding period

- (27 days)