"Mr. Connolly Has ALS"

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October 22, 2017
7:00pm Eastern Time
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Welcome to our social screening of "Mr. Connolly Has ALS," co-presented with the ALS Association and National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). We'll be joined live by filmmaker Dan Habib for a chat and Q&A!

To watch a trailer of the film and learn more, ‘like' us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MrConnollyHasALS/

"Mr. Connolly Has ALS" is a new 30 min. film by Dan Habib, creator of "Including Samuel" and "Who Cares About Kelsey?" Mr. Connolly is a high school principal stricken with ALS. He stays on the job leading his high school despite his worsening physical condition, and is embraced by a loving community.

Video Description

Mr. Connolly Has ALS- final film with captions

During his 14-year tenure at Concord High School, Principal Gene Connolly was known for his non-stop energy, his love of rock & roll, and the personal connections he made with many of the school’s 1,600 students. However, in 2014, Connolly became known for something very different: the rapid loss of his ability to walk and speak due to the debilitating effects of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). He joined approximately 12,000 other Americans living with ALS, which typically results in death within 2-5 years. At the school’s 2015 homecoming parade, documentary filmmaker Dan Habib watched his son Samuel (a sophomore at Concord High) have a conversation with Connolly. But neither spoke. Samuel and Gene used hand gestures and communication devices— Samuel because of his cerebral palsy, and Connolly because ALS had taken away his ability to speak. “Mr. Connolly Has ALS” chronicles Connolly’s final year as principal of the school and features CHS students – including Habib's son Samuel – asking Connolly about the most profound and personal aspects relating to his life with the disease, and what it feels like to become disabled. These questions are threaded throughout the documentary to explore the themes that Connolly’s ALS catalyzed in the community: how to live life fully, develop resilience, show love freely, and identify priorities; what it feels like to acquire a disability; how people perceive individuals with disabilities; and how to approach an inevitable death with honesty and dignity.

60 minutes


  • Moderator Avatar
    Impact Media Partners

    Impact Media Partners LLC is your one-stop shop for communications, audience engagement, and media consulting services.

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  • Panelist Avatar
    Dan Habib


    Dan Habib is the filmmaker behind "Mr. Connolly Has ALS," along with many other titles, and he a project director at the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.