March 12-18, free - $50 (most film screenings $12-$13)
The seventh annual ReelAbilities film festival will feature more than two dozen programs, focusing on “promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.” This year’s festival, running March 12-18, will take place at more than three dozen locations in all five boroughs in addition to Westchester and Long Island. The Finishers, Nils Tavernier’s drama about a teenager with cerebral palsy who is convinced by his father that the two should compete together in an Ironman triathlon in France, is the opening-night selection, with a gala screening at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, while the closing-night film is Carlo Zoratti’s The Special Need, about a twenty-nine-year-old autistic man who is determined to lose his virginity, being shown March 18 at the JCC in Manhattan and followed by a reception. Among the other films are Adam Kahan’s The Case of the Three Sided Dream, a documentary about blind and paralyzed jazzman Rahsaan Roland Kirk; Troy Kotsur’s mockumentary No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie; Richard Kane’s Jon Imber’s Left Hand, which tells the story of the artist who had to switch the hand he paints with because of ALS; and Lou Howe’s Gabriel, which stars Rory Culkin as a teenager dealing with mental illness. (Many of the screenings will be followed by discussions and Q&As with the filmmakers, actors, protagonists, and health professionals.) There will also be such special events as “(In)Visible,” a conversation between blind Michigan Supreme Court justice Richard Bernstein and Jason’s Connections cofounder Jason Harris; a multimedia exhibit at the JCC in Manhattan by the Jack and Shirley Silver Center for Special Needs; the ReelAbilities Comedy Night at the JCC with Anita Hollander, Mary Archbold, Pat Shay, Shannon DeVido, and David Harrell; and a Shabbat Dinner celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, with film screenings and a panel discussion with historian Warren Shaw, Justice Bernstein, photographer Rick Guidotti, and others, moderated by Lawrence Carter-Long.