New Film Explores Intellectual Disability

Naieer in art class

Free Screening Tuesday Jan 14 of New Film that Challenges IQ Testing & Limits Placed on People with Intellectual Disabilities

The community is invited to attend a free screening event Tuesday, January 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. of the new documentary film, INTELLIGENT LIVES. The film is 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.

  • An Opportunity Fair with representatives from more than 15 area resources and agencies will be held prior to the screening from 6:00-6:30 p.m. Agencies include Best Buddies, Gigi‘s Playhouse, Happiness House, Music Education Center, OPWDD, Pace Family Chiropractic, Person Centered Services, Prime Care Coordination, Rochester Accessible Adventures, Rochester Special Hockey, Strong Behavioral Health and Tutor Doctor.
  • A community discussion, Opening Doors to Inclusive Opportunities, with Donna Dedee, President and CEO of Holy Childhood and Special Touch Bakery and representatives of inclusive recreation, inclusive housing, inclusive employment, and inclusive college students will be held after the film from 8:00-8:30 p.m.


The event is free and open to the public and will be held at Penfield High School Auditorium, 25 High School Drive, Penfield, NY 14526. Advance registration is recommended online at Limited seats will be available at the door.

The event is presented by Penfield Special Education PTA, The Golisano Foundation, The Special Education Task Force, and Best Buddies NY.

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 story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

Dan Habib, director and producer of the film, says, “People with intellectual disabilities are the most segregated of all Americans. Only 17 percent of students with intellectual disabilities are included in regular education. Just 40 percent will graduate from high school. And of the 6.5 million Americans with intellectual disability, barely 15 percent are employed.”

6:00-6:30 p.m. - Opportunity Fair
6:30-8:00 p.m.- INTELLIGENT LIVES film screening
8:00-8:30 p.m. - Opening Doors to Inclusive Opportunities discussion

About the Hosts & Filmmaker

Penfield Special Education PTA (SEPTA) is founded on the mission to foster understanding, respect, support and an appropriate education for all students with different abilities within our community.

The Golisano Foundation is devoted exclusively to opening doors to opportunity, changing negative perceptions and stereotypes, and forging unprecedented partnerships to ensure individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have pathways to personal dignity, independence and the best possible expression of their abilities and talents throughout their lifetimes

The Special Education Task Force is committed to improving educational access and outcomes for students with disabilities through a collaborative regional and statewide network of stakeholders representing a variety or perspectives in addressing the special education needs of students in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, and Yates counties, as well as New York State.

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-ne friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Dan Habib is director and producer of INTELLIGENT LIVES and the creator of the award-winning documentaries Including Samuel, Who Cares About Kelsey?, Mr. Connolly Has ALS and many other films. Habib is a filmmaker at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. His films have been broadcast internationally, nominated for Emmy awards and translated into 17 languages. Habib gave the TEDx talk, “Disabling Segregation” and received the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2014, Habib was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

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