The Key of G is an intimate, award-winning documentary about disability, caregiving, community integration and interdependence. The film follows Gannet, a charismatic 22-year-old with physical and developmental disabilities, as he leaves his mother's home to share an apartment with a group of artists and musicians who support him, not only as paid caregivers, but also as friends. Together they create a uniquely successful model of supported living, and a compelling alternative to institutionalized care."One of the best parts of the job is watching people start understanding that he's a full person—just a person who goes about it all differently," Donal Mosher, one of Gannet's caregivers, says.
Gannet (or "G," as his friends call him) was born with Mowat-Wilson syndrome, a genetic condition that results in a myriad of physical and developmental disabilities with symptoms resembling autism. G seldom makes eye contact and is unable to speak or use sign language, so he communicates using a touch system for "yes" and "no" and by pointing at icons in his "communication book." G has a strong will and a great sense of humor, but requires physical assistance around the clock. Under different circumstances, someone like G could easily wind up in an institution, but through his mother's force of will and Gannet's own charisma, things have worked out quite differently.Called "a smart, poignant, candid and extraordinary film" by San Francisco Film Society executive director Graham Leggat, The Key of G begins with G still living at home with his mother, Amy. G has just turned 22 and Amy has come to the realization that her son is ready to move out. G's condition prevents him from moving to a traditional group home, so Amy seeks an alternative family for him, one that will outlive her.
Avoiding the conventional care model of paid professionals expected to keep an emotional distance from their clients, Amy finds three young artists who will become not just paid caregivers and roommates for G, but true friends. Over time, Gannet becomes part of their social circle, exposing a wide variety of artists and musicians to his unique way of experiencing the world and changing their perceptions of disability. Together they cobble together funding from an array of state programs, and attempt to create an independent and sustainable household.
Winner of the 2007 Golden Gate Award for Best Bay Area Documentary at the 50th San Francisco International Film Festival, The Key of G follows this unique household over several years as the usual difficulties and joys of group living are heightened by G's unique condition. Through the difficulties, relationships deepen and G's world keeps expanding.
Ultimately, The Key of G is as much the caregivers' story as it is Gannet's. As they come to rely on him as a friend, they realize that they are building something better than just an independent life for G: they are building a community of interdependence that benefits them all. The film provides a model of how someone with serious disabilities can be integrated into the community and live a truly full life. Along the way, The Key of G challenges conventional notions about independence, empathy, and disability, and provides a glimpse into a kind of life seldom seen on television.