HCN News & Notes

Springfield College Professor’s Documentary Earns 2015 Telly Award

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College Associate Professor of Communications Jody Santos’ documentary titled No One Left Behind, a film that chronicles the work of Disability Rights International (DRI), earned a 2015 Telly Award in the film/video category.

The documentary was selected from nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five countries. The Telly Awards honor the best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs.

DRI is the first human-rights organization to bring international attention to the millions of children and adults with disabilities who are locked away in orphanages, psychiatric wards, and other facilities around the world.

“This is one of the most heartbreaking stories I’ve ever had to tell,” said Santos, an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker who has been producing and directing documentaries for PBS and cable networks like Discovery Health and the Hallmark Channel since 2000. “The suffering and abuse I witnessed in institutions in the Republic of Georgia and Mexico stays with me today and fueled my desire to make this film the best it can be. What we are talking about is an enormous waste of human potential — people languishing, essentially, in prisons because of the stigma of disabilities around the world.”

Santos hosted a premier of the documentary on campus in March and was joined by DRI President Laurie Ahern and Executive Director Eric Rosenthal, who took part in a question-and-answer segment after a screening of the film.

Established by Rosenthal in 1993 and based in Washington, D.C., DRI documents human-rights abuses, publishes reports on human-rights enforcement, and promotes international oversight of the rights of people with mental disabilities. Drawing on the skills and experience of attorneys, mental-health professionals, human-rights advocates, and people with mental disabilities and their family members, DRI trains and supports advocates who are seeking legal and service system reform, and assists governments in developing laws and policies to promote community integration and human-rights enforcement for people with mental disabilities.

The organization is forging new alliances throughout the world to challenge the discrimination and abuse faced by people with mental disabilities, as well as working with locally based advocates to create new advocacy projects and to promote citizen participation and human rights for children and adults.