Pathlight to Offer Film Festival Highlighting Relationships

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11 short documentaries feature people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

AMHERST—Pathlight will offer its second annual Film Festival, featuring 11 short documentaries highlighting relationships in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

“We wanted to focus on a broad range of relationships and highlight how important relationships are within the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Brittany Brown, development and communications coordinator for Whole Children in Hadley, a program of Pathlight.

“We would like the films to inspire meaningful conversation and to promote greater inclusion and greater understanding of people with developmental disabilities,” Brown added. “The films help to show that people of all abilities are looking for the same types of meaningful relationships in life.”

Pathlight is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Springfield, and it has served people with developmental and intellectual disabilities throughout western Massachusetts since 1952.

Brown said several Whole Children parents connected Pathlight last year to a nonprofit called Sprout in New York City, which helps people with developmental disabilities to enhance socialization opportunities through various events, including its annual touring video offerings.

Pathlight’s first offering of the Sprout films was so successful it sold out with a waiting list. “We knew it was definitely something the community responded to and something we would like to do again,” she said.

This year, in addition to the films, the event at The Carle will also include a discussion on relationships to be led by three teachers in Whole Children’s Boundaries and Relationships program: Pete Smith, Chris Harper and Liana Marks.

Maggie Rice, Whole Children’s director, will offer an introduction to the discussion.

Event tickets cost $10, and Brown recommends anyone interested in attending buy them in advance through, given last year’s sell-out. The ticket price includes a wine and cheese reception after the films. Five College Realtors is underwriting the cost of the event.

The festival will also be showcased in Ludlow on Sunday, March 26 from 1-4 p.m. at the Paul R. Baird Middle School.

In Ludlow, the films will be offered in collaboration with an event called Pathlight Making Dreams Come True, which will have a carnival atmosphere and feature activities for people of all ages and abilities, including storytelling, games and face painting. A donation of $5 is suggested at the door.

The following are the names and descriptions of the films, which range between three and 12 minutes in duration:

  • “Wayne.” A man with limited communication skills learns the harsh reality of love and romance.
  • “What Would You Change?” People with intellectual and developmental disabilities answer the same question, “If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?”
  • “The Best Thing We Ever Done.” Two couples from New Zealand share their personal stories of how they met and the challenges they faced.
  • “Can I Call You?” Ben is a young man looking for the perfect relationship but wonders if the fact that he has autism changes the way girls relate to him.
  • “I Love Grilled Cheese.” Libby provides some insight about the joys of living with her best friend, and big brother, Max, who has Down syndrome.
  • “Fixing Luka.” Lucy thinks her brother, Luka, is broken; inspired from the filmmaker’s experiences of growing up with a younger brother with autism.
  • “Family Life 8 mins.” A profile of Clement and Karen Lefebvre and their two children.
  • “3:15 to Brunswick.” A romantic connection between two people waiting for a train that never arrives.
  • “Brooklyn Love Tales.” A personal look into the lives of three couples with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • “Be My Brother.” A young man’s charm and charisma challenges the prejudices of a stranger at a bus stop.
  • “Bumblebee.” Despite being told as a child he would never speak or walk, Vance accomplished what doctors thought was impossible. But now he has a new challenge: dating.

For more information about the films, visit Sprout Film Festival, at For more information on the local event offering, contact Brittany Brown at or 413-585-8010.

About Pathlight:

Pathlight was founded in 1952 by five mothers of young children with developmental disabilities. It was the first organization in Hampden County dedicated to serving individuals with an intellectual disability. Pathlight currently serves children, teens and adults throughout western Massachusetts with residential and employment supports, recreation classes, autism services, social skills training and performing arts programs.

Pathlight programs include Residential Supports, Shared Living, Adult Family Care, Autism Connections, Whole Children, Milestones, Valley Tees and Family Empowerment.

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