New Film About School Principal With ALS Nominated For IDA Award

November 1, 2017

Mr Connolly Has ALS Poster

Concord, NH — Filmmaker Dan Habib’s new project, Mr. Connolly Has ALS, has been nominated for the International Documentary Association’s 2017 IDA Award for Best Documentary Short. The film documents a high school principal who is embraced by his community as he continues to lead the school, despite rapidly losing his abilities due to the debilitating effects of ALS.

The 32-minute film screened at film festivals this fall, including with New Hampshire Film Festival, the Awareness Film Festival at Los Angeles’ L.A. Live (a project of LA-based charity Heal One World), and the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis.

“I am honored that we have been nominated for an IDA Award—especially because the nomination denotes the support of my peers in the documentary filmmaking community,” said filmmaker Dan Habib. “The ability to bring such an intimate portrayal like Gene Connolly to a wider audience is the only way we can really help people to understand the effects of an incurable disease like ALS.”

The IDA Awards’ 33rd Annual Ceremony will announce the winners at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles on December 9, 2017. Currently, Mr. Connolly Has ALS is screening exclusively at festivals, as well as online through a series of community preview screenings on the public media platform OVEE®, in partnership with the ALS Association and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Read about the announcement in IndieWire.

About the Film

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 was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mr. Connolly Has ALS chronicles Connolly’s final year as principal of the school, when his physical abilities are significantly limited.  The outpouring of love and support from the students, evident as they engage with him in the film, is both remarkable and inspiring.

Mr. Connolly Has ALS runs 32 minutes is and currently negotiating television and online distribution. Announcements about upcoming screenings will be made on Facebook.

Watch and embed the trailer.

Download the film trailer.

Partners and Funders

Mr. Connolly Has ALS was made possible by support from the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, and through the generosity of many individuals.

Film Stills (300 DPI JPG Format)