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Intelligent Lives DVD Education Kit

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Dan Habib
70-minute documentary film
Closed captions available on all films and optional audio description available for INTELLIGENT LIVES and Mr. Connolly Has ALS

About the Film

From award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib comes INTELLIGENT LIVES, a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America.

INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

INTELLIGENT LIVES challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment, and intimate relationships.

This Intelligent Lives Education Kit Contains

  • INTELLIGENT LIVES film (70 min.) with options for captioning and audio description, licensed for use by individuals or institutions for training, education, and free public screenings (no admission charges allowed), and password-protected streaming rights for classroom/course use.
  • MR. CONNOLLY HAS ALS film (32 min.) with options for captioning with audio description. A high school principle is embraced by his community as he continues to lead the school, despite rapidly losing his ability to walk and speak due to the effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
  • Four short films (16-20 min. ea) capturing effective practices in postsecondary transition around the country, including:
    • Person-centered planning
    • Self-determination strategies
    • Collaboration between schools, vocational rehabilitation, community organizations, and postsecondary schools
    • Family involvement
    • Inclusive Education
  • Film trailers
  • Access to extensive educational materials and discussion guides for all of these films.


A high school principal is embraced by his community as he continues to lead the school, despite rapidly losing his ability to walk and speak due to the debilitating effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Postsecondary Transition Films

“Garrett Shows: I’m in Charge” (16:28)

This film focuses on Garrett Shows, 18, a junior at ConVal Regional High School in Peterborough, New Hampshire. ConVal has put in place a number of evidence-based transition strategies for Garrett and other students with disabilities—such as internships and extended learning opportunities, Unified Sports, inclusive education, student-led IEP meetings, paid work opportunities, family engagement and a regular diploma track for students with intellectual disabilities.

Garrett Shows at IEP meeting


“Dream Out Loud” (18:40)

Pine Ridge, South Dakota, High School has launched an entrepreneurial initiative for students with disabilities living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Pine Ridge is one of the poorest communities in the nation, with an unemployment rate of 90% and a median income of $4,000/year. Pine Ridge High School has been recognized nationally for helping students with disabilities, including film subjects Alan Wagner and Mariah Romero, learn business startup skills by managing and staffing an in-school coffee shop.

dream out loud coffee shop donuts


“Untapped” (17:00)

At the Medtronic Corporation in Tempe, Arizona, and the city government in Rochester, New York, executives and supervisors describe how mentoring and hiring young people with disabilities (through hosting Project SEARCH sites) has a positive impact on their corporate efficiency and culture. This film features Anthony Canty of Rochester, a young man with high expectations for himself who is finding his stride in a community where the gradation rate for students with disabilities is just 22%.

Untapped Project SEARCH graduation


“Jamia and Peyton: I Can Work” (16:34)

In Fayetteville, Arkansas, and dozens of other communities across the country, the $180 million PROMISE federal demonstration project (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Social Security Administration) is enabling youth with disabilities like Jamia Davis and Peyton Denzer to obtain paid summer employment starting at age 14. PROMISE staff also work with the teens and their families to design pathways to long-term employment, and transition away from life-long dependence on social security benefits.

Jamia and Peyton


Important Information

Education Kit Licensing

The Licensing for the Education Kits allows for unlimited viewing as long as it is for your organization's use. The film and accompanying materials can be uploaded onto a password protected server (like Blackboard) or they can be used to host public screenings as long as no admission fee is charged. For more information on hosting a screening of Intelligent Lives you can visit the Intelligent Lives website at https://intelligentlives.org/host-screening.


Filmed and Directed by Dan Habib
Edited by James Rutenbeck
Story Editor: Jody Becker
Featuring Music by Matisyahu, with original score by Paul Brill
Executive Producers: Amy Brenneman, Chris Cooper, and Marianne Leone Cooper
Produced by Dan Habib and LikeRightNow Films in collaboration with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire

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