The Second Annual ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival is running January 28 through February 1, 2010, at The JCC in Manhattan at 334 Amsterdam Avenue, and at other locations throughout the New York metropolitan area. ReelAbilities is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities.
The festival presents award-winning films, discussions and other engaging programs to bring the community together to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.
The award winning animated feature Mary & Max, directed by Adam Elliot, opens the festival on January 28. This clay-animated film tells the story of a pen-friendship between a lonely 8-year-old girl in Melbourne and a 44-year-old Jewish man with Aspergers Syndrome living in New York.
The Closing Night film is Coming Down the Mountain, directed by Julie Anne Robinson. It's the story of David, a teenager whose 17-year-old brother, Ben, has Down's Syndrome, and how the family's world revolves around Ben's needs while David's are unwittingly neglected by their parents.
Other films are:
Beeswax, directed by Andrew Bujalski, a story of twin sisters who share a house, and their loves and dilemmas.
Among the Giants, directed by Cory Tomascoff, about the Adaptive Design Association, a nonprofit organization that builds customized equipment for kids and adults with disabilities, mainly using cardboard.
Nobody's Perfect, directed by Niko von Glasow. This documentary follows von Glasow as he looks for 11 people who, like him, were born disabled due to the side-effects of Thalidomide, and who are prepared to pose — naked — for a book of photos.
Shooting Beauty, directed by George Kachadorian, a documentary of fashion photographer Courtney Bent, who discovered a hidden world of beauty at a center for people living with significant disabilities, and began inventing cameras accessible to her new friends.
White Balance, directed by Dorit Hakim, is the story of a 12-year-old with a deep passion for ice skating, who is slowly losing his hearing, and therefore his balance, but refuses to give up his dream.
Henry O!, directed by Ziad H. Hamzeh, a documentary about Enrique (Henry) Oliu, a blind baseball commentator, who hears the crack of the bat and knows if it's a single, double or home run.
Zig-Zag Love, directed by Gillies Mackinnon. This is a love story about a relationship between a teenage cancer patient and a girl with cerebral palsy.
The Hunger House, directed by Justin Edgar, a moving short film touching on the dehumanization of people with disabilities by the Nazis during World War II.
All films are followed by discussion with filmmakers and speakers.
Following a screening of this excerpt from the work-in-progress film, Jonah Bossewitch, Ashley McNamara, and Annie Robinson of the Icarus Project will discuss viewing "mental illness" as a disability versus The Icarus Project's vision of a new culture and language that resonates with their actual experience of "mental illness". This panel explores questions of creativity and "madness," "divers-ability" and normality, mutual aid and biomedical psychiatry.
A band made up of 11 musicians/performers with developmental and physical disabilities.
A non-traditional dance company featuring dancers with and without disabilities
Choreographer Heidi Latsky presents a roster of performers who embody unique physical virtuosity.
To Be Seen
An original theater piece written and performed by The Creative Alternatives NY (CANY) and The JCC in Manhattan's Adaptations Drama Group.
Music for Autism
An Interactive, "Autism Friendly" Concert with Tony Award-winner Jarrod Emick and singer/guitar player Andrew Ross.
Practical Guide to Autism
Author discussion and book signing with Dr. Fred Volkmar.
Seeing with Photography
The Seeing with Photography Collective is a group of photographers based in New York City who range from sighted to visually impaired and and totally blind.
Kids Club Art Exhibit
Featuring self- portraits created by the children of the Kids Club for Special Children.
For more information, visit www.reelabilities.org.
ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival
January 28 through February 1, 2010
The JCC Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Avenue
New York City