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Annual ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival

USA- New York, NY | Jan 29 2012 | (01:05:03 - EDT)

Over 20 venues, across eight counties, will present the 4th Annual ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival, from February 9th through February 14th, 2012.

Presented by various arts, culture, educational and community venues, such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY Public Library branches, Museum of the Moving Image, the Jacob Burns Film Center, and more, the festival will showcase narrative, documentary and short films from across the globe, many in their U.S. or NY premieres, all followed by intimate conversations and in-depth discussions with filmmakers and special guests.

In addition to the selection of ground-breaking international films; live music, dance performances, art exhibitions and other special events are major components of the ReelAbilities experience. The festival partners with over 50 community, arts, government, disability, and educational organizations making it the only film festival to bring stories of disabilities to such a wide-reaching audience. Through film, ReelAbilities brings together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

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Festival Co-Director Isaac Zablocki says, “We use film to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The films we screen not only entertain, but enlighten and capture experiences that are often shied away from.”

Initiated in NY in 2007, the festival recently launched its national presence in partnership with the Saul Schotenstein Foundation B. Premiering in Cincinnati, OH, and Atlanta, GA, earlier this year, the national festival is scheduled to be presented in Boston, MA and Greater DC area this coming February 2012, followed by additional festivals in Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston, Richmond, Fairfax, Baltimore, Columbus, and Rockville.  The recently introduced new festival website, www.reelabilities.org , featurs a new homepage that allows festival goers to explore the diversity of programs offered in their communities.

The upcoming edition of the NY festival will open on Thursday, February 9th, with OCEAN HEAVEN (Xiao Lu Xue, China, 2010, 96 min, Narrative) starring Jet Li in his first dramatic role, telling the moving story of a father’s tireless love for his autistic son and his attempt to teach his son the life skills necessary to surviving on his own.

The festival’s closing night event will feature a screening of Academy Award Nominee Susan Seidelman’s (Desperately Seeking Susan, She Devil, and more) recent dance romance MUSICAL CHAIRS (USA, 2011, 100 min, Narrative), followed by a closing night reception and dance party.

The film follows two New Yorkers, Armando from the Bronx, and Mia from the East Side, and their love of ballroom dancing. A tragic accident changes Mia’s life. True to his heart, Armando dedicates himself, along with a group of colorful misfits, to help Mia deal with her challenges and dance once more.

Other films to be featured in the festival:

APHASIA

Jim Gloster, USA, 2010, 40 min, Narrative

Aphasia tells the true story of actor Carl McIntyre about the effects of a massive stroke he suffered at the age of 44 - he lost his ability to read, write and speak. Starring as himself, McIntyre portrays his life story with an incredibly nuanced performance. Through humor and pathos Aphasia speaks to anyone who has struggled to meet life’s challenges.

BODY AND SOUL (DE CORPO E ALMA)

Matthieu Bron, France / Mozambique, 2011, 54 min, Documentary

The amazing story of three young Mozambicans with physical disabilities, who work to help others in their community. Their daily lives reveal how they see themselves, raising questions on self-acceptance and how to find one’s place in society.

DEFINING BEAUTY: MS. WHEELCHAIR AMERICA

Alexis Ostrander, USA, 2011, 78 min, Documentary

The vibrant lives of five women with disabilities on their journey to the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, where the concept of beauty is defined through the lens of advocacy & perseverance.

GIRLFRIEND

Justin Lerner, USA, 2011, 94 min, Narrative

Evan, a young man with Down Syndrome, lives with his mother in a working-class town hit hard by the recent economic recession. When he unexpectedly comes into a large amount of money, Evan uses it to romantically pursue Candy, a girl he has loved since high school.

MABUL (The Flood)

Guy Nattiv, Israel, 2011, 100 min, Narrative

A coming-of-age drama about a family that struggles to keep up appearances while hiding their sins from one another. When the eldest son, who has autism, returns from an institution, the pressure builds and secrets begin to emerge.

MOURNING (Soog)

Morteza Farshbaf, Iran, 2011, 85 minutes, Narrative

A cinematic road trip follows a deaf couple and their young nephew on their way to Tehran. Before they get there, the couple must break the bad news to the boy that his parents were killed in an accident but the journey proves to be more complex than they had expected.

PRINCESS (Prinsessa)

Arto Halonen, Finland, 2010, 104 min, Narrative

Based on real-life events, the amazing and musical story of Anna Lappalainen who spent 50 years of her life as a patient at a psychiatric hospital, where her lovable personality healed and brought joy to those around her and where she claimed to be a princess.

REEL ENCOUNTERS 2012

A selection of award-winning films from around the globe.

I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK ALONE

Daniel Ribeiro, Brazil, 2010, 17 min, Narrative

A 15 year-old blind teenager and his best friend face issues of jealousy and other new feelings when they befriend a new kid in their class.

AGLAEE

Rudi Rosenberg, France, 2010, 20 min, Narrative

Benoit looses a schoolyard bet and must invite Aglaee, a girl with CP, to go out with him.

10:4 (TEN TO FOUR)

Guy Natanel, UK, 2010, 5 min, Documentary

Blindness through the textures, colors, and sounds of the mundane. Can the sighted fully comprehend what it means to be blind?

SOUND SHADOWS

Julie Engaas, Norway, 2008, 7min, Documentary

Enter a world where sound gives shape to space.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO

Emma Buckley, Australia, 2009Australia, 7 min, Narrative

Two boys face off. But when the stakes are at their highest will victory be sweet?

RUN IF YOU CAN (Renn Wenn du Kannst)

Dietrich Bruggemann, Germany, 2010, 112 min, Narrative

A gripping story of friendship and a love triangle between frustrated Ben, who is bound to a wheelchair, his playful caretaker, Christian, and Annika the dreamer, musician and object of both men’s desire. When the relationships heat up, Annika cannot decide between the two men. Together they create an adventure filled with imagination and desire. But what starts out as a game soon becomes serious when Ben faces his biggest fear.

THE STRAIGHT LINE (La Ligne Droit)

Régis Wargnier, France, 2011, 98min, Narrative

The story of Yannick, a blind runner, and Leila, a recently released convict. Their relationship develops on and off the racetrack but the couple’s love is met by adversity and family relations create obstacles.

Celebrating 10 years on 76th and Amsterdam, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side.  The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants’ minds, bodies, and spirits.  Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs and services that reach beyond neighborhood boundaries.  Programs at the JCC reach people at all stages of their lives, and serve the entire family and community.

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