The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook

The Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, in partnership with the New York State Digital and Media Services Center, has produced a documentary highlighting the importance of lessons learned and the positive change that resulted from the legacy of Willowbrook. The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook is a celebration of inclusion in all aspects of community life.

  • Vicky Hiffa
  • Drew Webster
  • Regina Dalpiaz-Bulman
  • Joseph Walsh
  • Kate Schmieding
  • Geraldo Rivera
    Key Cast
  • Bernard Carabello
    Key Cast
  • William Bronston, M.D.
    Key Cast
  • Diane Buglioli
    Key Cast
  • Michael Wilkins, M.D.
    Key Cast
  • Debra Weissbach, M.D.
    Key Cast
  • Jose Rivera
    Key Cast
  • Willie Mae Goodman
    Key Cast
  • John Armstrong
  • Catherine Greninger
    Motion Designer
  • Casey O'Donnell
    Content Producer
  • Shamus O'Donnell
    Creative Director
  • Project Type:
  • Completion Date:
    March 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    450,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Vicky Hiffa, Drew Webster, Regina Dalpiaz-Bulman, Joseph Walsh

Creating The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook has been a professional and personal passion project for the directing team: New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Executive Director Vicky Hiffa, Assistant Public Information Officer Drew Webster, Special Assistant Regina Dalpiaz-Bulman and Joe Walsh, a Senior Multimedia Producer for the New York State Digital and Media Services Center. The documentary, highlighting the decades-long progress in creating a more inclusive society for people with disabilities, has taken on meaning far greater than the team could have imaged. They are exceptionally proud to tell this layered story of bravery, persistence and systems change.

Through its grant work and programs, the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council works to break down barriers to inclusion and change the way the world sees and treats people with disabilities. The New York State Digital and Media Services Center provides educational, informative, and engaging creative on behalf of state agencies.

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Director Statement

Statement: “The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook”

It has been more than 50 years since Geraldo Rivera’s expose on the horrific conditions at Willowbrook State School shocked the nation and forever changed, for the better, the treatment of people with disabilities in this country. Many viewers who watch this documentary will have no memory of the inhumane systems that allowed Willowbrook to operate, nor the government-sanctioned ways in which people with disabilities were robbed of their dignity, their lives and their rights. This documentary is a reminder that we cannot let this shameful history repeat itself and is also a testament to the power of advocacy and how, in the words of Margaret Mead, “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world”. The NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council works day in and day out to develop innovative projects and raise awareness on the benefits of community inclusion for people with disabilities and is very proud to present this documentary.