After making its world premiere at the Independent Film Festival Boston over the weekend, the feature documentary, Best Kept Secret, directed by filmmaker and actor Samantha Buck and produced by filmmaker/distributor Danielle DiGiacomo, will have its New Jersey premiere on Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 pm during the Montclair Film Festival at the Montclair Kimberley Academy.
Its film festival circuit travels will be followed by a limited theatrical release this summer (details on that to come later).
Its synopsis reads:
At JFK High School, located in the midst of a run-down area in Newark, New Jersey, the nation’s 10th poorest city, administrators answer the phone by saying, “You’ve reached John F. Kennedy High School, Newark’s Best Kept Secret.” And indeed, it is. JFK is a public school for all types of students with special education needs, ranging from those on the autism spectrum to those with multiple disabilities. Janet Mino has taught her class of young autistic men for four years. When they all graduate in the spring of 2012, they will leave the security of the public school system forever. Best Kept Secret follows Ms. Mino and her students over the year and a half before graduation. The clock is ticking to find them a place in the adult world – a job or rare placement in a recreational center – so they do not end up where their predecessors have, sitting at home, institutionalized, or on the streets.
Director Samantha Buck said she was inspired to make the film after traveling the film festival circuit with her last film, screening many films about young children with autism, but noticing that, while they were all moving and important, they only spoke of a limited population – predominately Caucasian and financially stable. She wanted to tackle and address what happens to children with autism who grow up in less fortunate circumstances, which led to her researching public schools in inner city areas, bring her to JFK and Janet Mino, whom she describes as a force of nature who changed her life.
Ahead of this weekend’s Montclair Film Festival screening, S&A has been granted an exclusive look at the film via a new clip featuring Janet Mino lamenting some of her struggle.