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We’re Here to Speak for Justice: Details

“We’re Here to Speak for Justice: Founding California’s Regional Centers,” is a provocative and moving documentary on the founding of the regional center system for people with developmental disablilities and their families in the State of California. The movie originally aired on February 27, 2000 on KCET.

Image of the cover of the companion booklet to the film “We’re Here to Speak for Justice: Founding California’s Regional Center’s.” To order a video click on the image.

The film was produced and directed by award winning filmmaker Theodore Braun, senior lecturer at USC’s School of Cinema-Television. It was made through a partnership between Union Bank of California, Lanterman, Golden Gate and Harbor Regional Centers, and The University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.

The film captures for the first time, in print or moving images, the fascinating, challenging and dramatic story behind the development of the regional center system - told by the pioneers who lived it. It is a remarkable historical achievement that stands as a testament to the ability of committed individuals to effect social change.

It’s the story of impassioned parents, dynamic professionals and legendary state legislators who worked together to open the doors, bring down the old system, and forge a new, more humane and responsive way to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and their families. It is a story about ordinary citizens coming together to change government for the good of their community. It is a story that celebrates partnership, idealism and compassion.

This story of a generation that transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians, reminds us all of the extraordinary obstacles we’ve overcome since the early 1960s, the triumphs we’ve enjoyed, and the spirit required to face the challenges ahead. We hope it inspires, encourages and empowers all those in the field of developmental disabilities and the broader community to “keep the vision alive.”

About the Producer/Director

Writer-director Ted Braun’s critically acclaimed first feature film, Darfur Now won the NAACP Image Award for best documentary of 2007 and was named one of 2007’s top five documentaries by the National Board of Review.and the Broadcast Critics Association. The film was produced by the Academy Award™ winning producer of Crash, Cathy Schulman, Academy Award™ nominee Don Cheadle, and three-time Academy Award™ winning documentarian Mark Jonathan Harris. Warner Brothers distributed Darfur Now worldwide and financed along with Participant Media, which spearheaded a global social action campaign.

For his work writing and directing the film, the International Documentary Association awarded Braun their 2007 Emerging Filmmaker of the Year. In addition, the Winter 2008 issue of Movie Maker Magazine named him, along with Errol Morris, Oliver Stone, and Robert Redford one of 25 filmmakers whose work has changed the world.

Since then he’s continued to work in non-fiction across documentary and scripted forms with a focus on global conflict in the Muslim world and Africa. His new feature documentary Betting On Zero, explores the high stakes battle between hedge fund CEO Bill Ackman and Herbalife and was produced by Glen Zipper, producer of the Academy Award™ winning feature documentary, Undefeated.     

Prior to Darfur Now, Braun wrote and directed award winning short form fictional films and documentaries for HBO, PBS, A&E and The Discovery Channel on topics ranging from test pilots of aviation’s golden age to the historical Jesus.

Braun is the Joseph Campbell Chair in Cinematic Ethics at USC. He taught screenwriting at Amherst College (the first to do so) before joining the faculty at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. He’s a recipient of the University’s Phi Kappa Phi faculty recognition award. He regularly lectures, conducts seminars, and serves as a consultant throughout Europe and the US. His students have won or been nominated for some of the most prestigious cinema and television prizes: Academy Awards, the Palme d’Or, Emmys, Sundance Festival Awards, and European Media Prizes. He serves as a judge for both the DGA and the WGA feature documentary awards, and the Scripter awards for best adapted feature screenplay and adapted series. He grew up in rural Vermont and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

About the Sponsors

The film “We’re Here to Speak for Justice: Founding California’s Regional Centers” was produced with a generous grant from Union Bank of California and the support of Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center, Golden Gate Regional Center and Harbor Regional Center, in partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.

Additional support was provided by Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, Kern Regional Center, North Los Angeles County Regional Center, Regional Center of the East Bay, San Andreas Regional Center, San Gabriel-Pomona Regional Center, and South Central Los Angeles Regional Center.

View the Film

A streaming video version of the film is available online.

Download the Companion Booklet

The companion booklet to the film “We’re Here to Speak for Justice” is also available online as a downloadable PDF. Download the booklet (450KB)