ReelAbilities is the largest film festival in the country dedicated to highlighting award-winning films that explore life through the eyes of filmmakers with disabilities and tell stories about people with disabilities. Since its start in New York in 2008, The ReelAbilities Film Festival has spread to 14 cities across the United States including Atlanta, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. This year it’s back in the Big Apple with screenings at 37 locations around the five boroughs.
People with disabilities, of course, have the desire to express themselves just as much as the next person, and ReelAbilities provides a great forum. The festival highlights the experiences of people living and thriving with disabilities through film screenings, musical performances, dinners and post-screening discussions. In addition to providing a high-visibility platform for artists with disabilities, ReelAbilities challenges destructive social attitudes and physical barriers that many people with disabilities face, through first-hand accounts from the people who experience them.
What’s the 411?
ReelAbilities 2015 NYC kicks off Thursday March 12 at 7pm with a Red Carpet opening at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Opening night will feature the NY premiere of “The Finishers,” a film about one family’s literal and emotional journey to create a lasting bond. The evening will also feature a special performance by Blessing Offor, a season seven contestant on The Voice.
The 25th Anniversary of the ADA will be celebrated on March 13, 6:30 pm with a special ReelAbilities Shabbat dinner at the JCC of Manhattan. The evening will include screenings of three short films: On Beauty, about a photographer refocusing his lens on varying standards of beauty; The Astronaut’s Secret, about an astronaut’s hidden disability; and Riding My Way Back, the story of one man’s effort to heal after returning home from war. These screenings will be followed by a conversation with filmmakers and special guests.
Open to people with autism and their families is an “autism friendly” (technical adjustments made in sound and lighting) ReelAbilities concert on March 15 at noon at the Shorefront YMHA of Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach. The concert will include a performance by Percussia, featuring the harp, percussion, flute, and viola.
If you’re looking for a laugh, the JCC of Manhattan is the place to be on March 18 at 9pm for an amazing lineup of comedians and performers celebrating diversity through humor.
The schedule for the entire festival can be found here. Accessibility and ticket information can also be found online or by calling 1.646.505.5708, TTY: 1.646.505.6708.
See you there!