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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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