Press Release – New Doc Film “Lifehouse” Challenges Our Views of the Developmentally Disabled in Our Communities

Nikki Comaroto, speaks candidly of her frustrations (PRNewsFoto/Lifehouse)

Nikki Comaroto, speaks candidly of her frustrations (PRNewsFoto/Lifehouse)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — A new documentary film, “Lifehouse,” tackles the difficult questions of what it means to have a developmental disability, challenging prevailing myths and preconceptions about this poorly understood population living in our communities. Through their own words, experiences and romantic relationships, the film captures the dreams, frustrations and joys these people experience in their daily lives and reveals the unique contributions they make to our communities.

The film’s early screenings have earned overwhelmingly positive reviews and spurred a campaign to support a feature-length film. Singer, Songwriter Huey Lewis says, “A powerful film about lives that matter and the incredible people who work every day to raise the quality of those lives.”

Coinciding with this year’s 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), this film offers unique access into the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and the people who support their independent living. The film explores many difficult questions they and their families must grapple with, underscoring the vast range of emotional, intellectual and artistic abilities these people possess. Jim Shorter, Executive Director, Golden Gate Regional Center says, “This film provides a unique opportunity to learn about the importance of inclusion.”

Randall Martin & Katie Buster share their feelings for each other (PRNewsFoto/Lifehouse)

Randall Martin & Katie Buster share their feelings for each other (PRNewsFoto/Lifehouse)

Filmmakers spent over two years gaining access and insight into this population. Their approach is best captured by a father who asks, “How do you get people to relate to people just as humans, just as people… not as a political group that needs to be supported?”

“Lifehouse,” 25-minute film is free to view at:



The film was produced by the non-profit agency, Lifehouse, who has served Bay Area people with developmental disabilities since 1954, in collaboration with independent film producer, PotentialSF.

Lifehouse provides support to over 200 individuals and their families in Marin, Sonoma and San Francisco counties. Their work is dedicated toward creating opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to become as independent as possible and participate fully in our larger communities for the rest of their lives.

Lifehouse has recently developed specialized services for those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), as 40% of their new referrals are for adults with autism. One of its newest residences for ASD is Sweetwater located in Sonoma County.

Independent film producer and director, Paul Zehrer of PotentialSF says, “We’ve all encountered a person with a developmental disability who communicates differently or even sometimes incoherently Many people were surprised that when they saw people like this “sub-titled” in the film, their view of them changed dramatically. Suddenly, they saw an articulate, passionate human being with something meaningful to say.”

Source: PR Newswire: New Doc Film “Lifehouse” Challenges Our Views of the Developmentally Disabled in Our Communities: