The 2019 ReelAbilities Film Festival continues to showcase talent from around the world dedicated to awareness of the stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The festival celebrates the diversity of the shared human experience through engaging films and events and encourages inclusion and responsible portrayals in cinema of people with disabilities, the most underrepresented minority in America media.
The 11th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York will take place at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, located at 76 th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, and at over 20 other venues across all five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland counties, making it a geographically accessible festival. In addition, it is packed with technology to make it an exceptionally accommodating festival for those with disabilities of all kinds. Individuals requiring accommodations to participate should contact the specific screening venue directly by March 18.
“This year is not only our largest festival, but also our most accessible to date as we continue to raise the bar on inclusive forms of film presentation,” says Isaac Zablocki, director and co-founder of the festival. “The themes of the films are more diverse than ever and the high level of storytelling makes these films relatable to everyone, with or without a disability.”
The opening night gala film “Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements” premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival where it was nominated for a grand jury prize. The film is a deeply personal portrait of three lives, and the discoveries that lie beyond loss: a deaf boy growing up, his deaf grandfather growing old, and Beethoven the year he was blindsided by deafness and wrote his iconic sonata. The film was produced by HBO, Taylor Brodsky and Tahria Sheather and will premiere on HBO.
The closing night film “The Drummer and the Keeper,” directed by Nick Kelley, won numerous awards including the Rising Star Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards and the Festival Jury Prize at the Breaking Down Barriers International Disability Film Festival. In the film, Gabriel is a drummer in a promising band, desperate to hide his bipolar diagnosis from his exasperated band mates. At a therapeutic mixed-ability soccer game he’s obliged to attend, Gabriel meets Christopher, a teenager with Asperger Syndrome, and the two are forced to “make friends.” The film will screen Tuesday, April 9 at 7 p.m. at the IAC Building, co-presented by Vimeo.
This year’s festival including the world premiere of “Me, My Mouth, and I,” directed by Sophie Robinson, and the New York premieres of “Nathan’s Kingdom,” “Wild Prairie Rose,” and “ Hearts of Glass.”
The New York festival is the launching pad for an international program and its selections run satellite ReelAbilities festival in over 20 cities worldwide.