Be the Change You Want to Screen.
Movie Captain™ Spotlight
By Lucy Copp

Last week, Director of Outreach Lucy Copp called up Katelyn Anderson of Central Valley, Pennsylvania to chat about her screening of Intelligent Lives. Katelyn is a first-time Movie Captain™ who, despite her “small community and few connections,” sold 128 tickets to her screening event. Her event made the local news and instilled a new sense of confidence in her ability to bring people together around a common interest and use her voice to advocate for her one-year-old daughter. As she told Lucy on the phone: “This is the first thing I through myself into. It’s important to me. This is what I can do.”

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L: How did you come across the film Intelligent Lives?

K: I was on a newsletter and got an email talking about the different movies. So then I watched the trailer and thought, ‘Wow I want to see this.’ I was hoping there was already a screening set up in my area but there wasn’t.

L: That’s why a lot of people host. They just want to see the film.

K: Yeah! So I was like ‘Okay, I’ll do it!’

L: Had you hosted anything like this before?

K: No…It was one of those things where, I really didn’t have any experience. I just really wanted to see the movie. My daughter has down syndrome and she’s only one-year-old right now. And it just struck a chord with me. I was like, you gotta start making the changes now so things are good for her by the time she’s in high school. So, I just did a Hail Mary!

L: You did a Hail Mary! But you also sold 128 tickets, which is amazing. How did you anticipate the film would be received in your community?

K: I wasn’t sure. I knew there would be skeptics; I have neighbors who are skeptics.

L: What exactly are they skeptical of?

K: Well they think, they [children with intellectual disabilities] don’t have the same skill set and we’re putting too much pressure on kids. It’s being overprotective in a weird way. But all the moms I’ve met I knew would be totally open to it. So I reached into the pools I did have and our therapist who does early intervention. A few of them starting sharing it on Facebook. So I mostly had people that I knew would be supportive. You know, I think everyone can benefit from this film.

L: Do you think any of those skeptics you mentioned reserved a ticket and went to the screening?

K: You know, I reserved some tickets for my neighbors and they DID show up! The history part of the film really opened their eyes.

L: As a parent of a one-year-old with down syndrome, what does inclusion mean to you for her? What does inclusion look like?

K: It just means that she gets to be a regular kid. It means that nobody looks at her and discounts her. Nobody is like ‘Oh, she can’t play with those other kids. She’s different.’ My hope is that people won’t see the difference as a negative thing. They see the difference as just ‘Oh okay, well I’ll just adjust this for you.’ When you see someone walking down the road with a pair of crutches, you’re going to help them with their groceries and you’re not going to think twice about it. You’re not going to feel bad for them. You’re just going to help them. I want people to be able to just, see her as just like them but think, ‘Well she needs a little help with this, or I can change this for her.’ We as parents need to teach our kids that everybody’s unique and that we all have different things we may need a little help with.

L: There’s an online article that was written about you and your daughter leading up to your local screening event of Intelligent Lives. And there’s a quote where the journalist writes: “She wants the world to see that nobody is quite like Piper. And that’s exactly how it should be.” I thought that was so on point, because it’s saying that we should all be celebrated for our uniqueness but that uniqueness should never be used against you. I love that.

K: Yeah, she [the reporter] was awesome. If I could give advice to people like myself, who aren’t event planners, I’d say reach out! It shocked me. I did not expect this article to have such an impact. Once you get someone to reserve a ticket that’s outside of your group, that’s when you can really reach people that you couldn’t have otherwise. I really don’t have that big of a network.

L: Was the overall process easy or way more work than you expected?

K: To be fair, I was going in very naive. So it was more work than I thought it would be. But I learned a lot, and I know the second time around will be easier because I have connections now that I didn’t have before! The biggest thing is that it’s worth the experience because at the end of the day, you got to see the movie and share it with your friends and family, and you have a different perspective than you did before. And also, for me, it was like ‘Okay, I can do this. I can be an advocate for my child.’ And this really was the first time I got to advocate. For me it was a confidence booster. When you can reach that tipping point it’s like, so awesome. I was jumping up and down!

L: It is exciting!

K: So exciting, and to know that you’re finding people who have a similar interest. People who want to see change and want to learn…It’s neat! Because it gives you connections you wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s worth it. Nothing in this life is worth having if you’re not working for it. And that’s kind of what makes it better in the end, too. It came through.

Katelyn had over 40 educators at her screening who all went for free thanks to local schools who donated tickets to their staff. The event was made especially impactful by the group of panelists from the following organizations: Eastern Pennsylvania Down Syndrome Center, The Miracle League, The ARC of Lehigh Valley, Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Katelyn for all the hard work she put into this event. We know, and she knows, she’s just getting started.\

To learn more about Intelligent Lives or Host a Screening visit: https://intelligentlives.org/host-theatrical-screening

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