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2nd Annual Reelabilities NY Film Festival
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The Second Annual ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival announces films and events line-up, all of which celebrate lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities.
NY premieres and award winning films will screen beginning January 28th through February 2nd, 2010, at 12 venues throughout NYC, Long Island, and Westchester.


ReelAbilities is dedicated to promoting the awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. Discussions and other engaging programs will bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Presented by the JCC in Manhattan, with the support of UJA-Federation and  over 40 partnering organizations, ReelAbilities will feature nine films showcased in 12 venues, opening and closing night receptions, special non-film programs (dance performances, live music, photography exhibition and more), panel discussions with guest filmmakers, and educational programming in various locations.


The second edition will mark the festival as the most accessible festival in the region, with venues spread throughout the NY metropolitan area, ASL interpretation, live audio description, captions and Braille materials, as well as the redesign of all festival’s print and web materials to be most accessible for the visually impaired.

“This is a festival with a mission, a mission to build community, raise consciousness, and transform cultural attitudes about people with disabilities.  Our goal is to help create an inclusive community.” says festival founder, Anita Altman of UJA-Federation.


Festival director, Isaac Zablocki adds: “ReelAbilities is leading the way for other festivals and the community at large to allow greater access where it is often overlooked and denied. Beyond the revolutionary design, the films selected are groundbreaking in their approach to disabilities and speak not only to the disabled community, but are relevant to absolutely everyone.”


The Opening Night film of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Adam Elliot’s MARY & MAX, will kick off the festival. The Australian stop-motion animated feature film opens with a NYC montage inspired by the New York photographer Diane Arbus’ black and white portraits, which explore difference. It tells the story of a pen-pal friendship between a lonely eight year old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and a 44 year old Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in New York.  Toni Collette, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Eric Bana lend their voices to the main characters.

Several U.S. films are featured in this year’s festival - modern-day relationships and idioms of a generation are explored in BEESWAX, by acclaimed director Andrew Bujalski; HENRY O! is a documentary by Ziad H. Hamzeh, telling the story of Enrique (Henry) Oliu, a blind baseball commentator, calling upon his love for sports and an encyclopedic memory for facts and figures; SHOOTING BEAUTY by director George Kachadorian follows fashion photographer Courtney Bent whose career takes an unexpected turn when she discovers a hidden world of beauty at a center for people living with significant disabilities.

In ZIG ZAG LOVE, THE FULL MONTY’s Robert Carlyle is the over protective father of Ziggy, a girl with cerebral palsy whose blossoming relationship a teenage cancer patient is the focus on this bitter-sweet BBC UK drama. The two escape from the confines of the hospital in pursuit of life, liberty and love.

German director Niko von Glasow gathers 12 people born with disabilities due to the side-effects of Thalidomide, to pose naked for a photo calendar; this remarkable documentary NOBODY’S PERFECT raises themes of body image and social acceptance.

The family-friendly film WHITE BALANCE by Israeli director Dorit Hakim tells the story of a 12-year-old boy, a figure ice-skater who is losing his hearing and therefore his balance, having to face unfamiliar territories and a complicated world of adolescence.

Also screening at the festival are British films THE HUNGER HOUSE and COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN.  THE HUNGER HOUSE, by festival alumnus Justin Edgar, is a moving short film touching on the dehumanization of people with disabilities by the Nazis.
COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN is the official closing night film of the festival, an edgy BBC UK production, starring Nicholas Hault (ABOUT A BOY), as teenager David whose antipathy to his brother Ben who has Down's syndrome grows and grows to the point where he decides to push him off a mountain... 

“We are thrilled to be embracing creative filmmaking and alternative cinematic approach to disability, together with direct interaction with filmmakers and open discussions, as core components of our festival. When audiences come to any of the various festival locations, we will deliver an unforgettable experience” adds Ravit Turjeman, festival co-director.

For more information about the festival, go to or contact 646-505-4404.


Press Inquiries:

Erica Werber

Director of Public Relations


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Location : Venues throughout NYC, Long Island, and Westchester County NY
Contact : Erica Werber, 646-505-4493, mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it