Habib’s film ‘Intelligent Lives’ to make N.H. debut at Capitol Center for the Arts

Naomie works at a salon in a scene from Dan Habib's documentary "Intelligent Lives." Courtesy of Dan Habib

Dan Habib is at it again.

The Concord documentarian and former Monitor photo editor works for the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability as a project director and filmmaker creating films that highlight issues surrounding all types of disabilities. His 2008 debut documentary film, Including Samuel, followed his son’s challenges of living with a disability, and it was nominated for an Emmy in 2010.

Now he has a new project, Intelligent Lives, and it’s set to make its New Hampshire debut on Monday at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

“The premise of this project is challenging the paradigm of intelligence and the way we perceive it as a society,” Habib said of Intelligent Lives in 2016, ahead of a 14-minute sneak preview of the documentary held at Red River Theatres in March of that year. “Part of the film looks at the incredibly destructive history of intelligence testing in this country, starting in the 1900s, the mass institutionalization of thousands of people.”

The film follows the lives of three young adults who live with various disabilities. Habib captures their struggles, successes and the overall challenges these individuals face in daily life, whether it’s at school, in the workforce or just out in the world. Specifically, the focus is on looking at the way society evaluates intelligence and often disenfranchises or ignores those with disabilities.

At the Monday event at the Capitol Center, Habib will be there to talk about the film along with Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper and the three central figures in the movie: Micah, Naieer and Naomie. Cooper is featured in the film as well, as he had a personal experience with raising a child with a disability.

The film has screened in Cleveland, Oregon and Boston, but Monday’s event will be the first time Intelligent Lives will be shown in New Hampshire. And, on top of it all, that Granite State debut will take place right here in Habib’s home city. It’s also the only planned screening in the state until the fall, so you won’t want to miss it.

One of the highlights of this event is the fact that this will be the first time Habib will have virtually all of the people associated with the film together in one place to have a discussion about it with the audience.

The reason the event is being held at the Capitol Center instead of, say, Red River Theatres, is because the Cap Center has a lot more seats, and Habib said he’s expecting a pretty big crowd.

“And I think the Cap Center is such a dramatic and elegant venue for something like this,” he said.

The event begins with a VIP reception at 5 p.m. There will be an exhibit of Naieer’s artwork on display in the lobby that will be available for browsing during the VIP reception. Cooper, Habib and the stars of the film will also be milling about at this time. Food will also be available during the event.

Then, at 6:30, the film will be screened. After the 70-minute documentary, Habib will lead a question-and-answer session with the audience and the participants in the film.

Tickets are $20 for the film screening (general admission seating) and $50 for the VIP reception as well as the screening. The event is listed on the Cap Center’s website (ccanh.com) but tickets are available exclusively at iod.unh.edu/ IL_Premiere. You can also learn a lot more about the film and the UNH Institute on Disability there.

All proceeds from the event will support the Intelligent Lives Opening Doors to Inclusive Education and Employment campaign.

For more information, go to intelligentlives.org.

Author: Jon Bodell

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