The Ride Ahead

Duration: 97m Director: Dan Habib, Samuel Habib

The Ride Ahead

Note: This film will be shown with open captions.

The Somerville Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Contact us if you have specific accessibility needs.

After graduating high school Samuel Habib, who has serious health, communication, and mobility challenges, feels ‘stuck’ and falling behind his peers. He wants to go to college, make new friends, date, move out of his parents’ home. “But no one tells you how to be an adult,” he says, “let alone an adult with a disability.”

Samuel is determined to avoid the statistical realities for most adults with disabilities: unemployment, isolation, or institutionalization. He decides to travel to meet some badass disabled adults and make a film that charts how they built full adult lives—as a roadmap for himself and others. He reaches out for mentorship from people like comedian Maysoon Zayid, who says “When non-disabled people tell our stories, we only get to have three stories: ‘Help me, I’m disabled.’ ‘Cure me.’ ‘Kill me.’ We have to tell our own stories.”

Samuel begins filming his own life perspective with two cameras mounted to his wheelchair, while his filmmaker father Dan Habib also documents key moments in his transition to adulthood.

Over three years, they capture degrading ableist encounters; a transition to college and independent living; his relationship with his non-disabled brother; health crises; and other intimate, emotional, coming of age moments.

He continues to seek out wisdom through conversations with six other disabled mentors: Americans with Disabilities Act legends Judy Heumann and Bob Williams; Tony-winning wheelchair-using pioneer Ali Stroker; hip-hop artist Keith Jones; autistic, queer activist Lydia X.Z. Brown; and Andrew Peterson, marathon runner and disability activist.

This eclectic cohort empowers Samuel to negotiate an overwhelmingly ableist world and pursue the late Judy Heumann’s faith in him, that “the world can be a better place, and you’re going to make a difference.”

THE RIDE AHEAD illustrates the compelling power of one person truly determined to live life on his own terms as he navigates the barriers before him, while energizing those around him. Together with a loving family and a community of friends, Samuel pushes forth his life’s “ride ahead.”

THE RIDE AHEAD is the feature-length version of the Emmy Award-winning New York Times Op-Doc, MY DISABILITY ROADMAP.

Expected to be in attendance at the festival:

Director Dan Habib, Director Samuel Habib, Editor James Rutenbeck, and Subject Keith Jones


Lisa Mullins (WBUR)

The Ride Ahead Tickets