Looking for something interesting or fun to do next month in New York City? You can take Accessible Dispatch from anywhere in New York City’s five boroughs to watch the tenth annual ReelAbilities Film Festival. ReelAbilities is the largest festival in the country that showcases films by, about, and for people with disabilities.
The festival will be held at more than two dozen locations in New York City, as well as in Westchester, Rockland, and Long Island, from Thursday, March 8 to Wednesday, March 14. It will launch with a romantic comedy about a couple with autism called “Keep the Change” at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan venue, a Jewish community center on the Upper West Side’s Amsterdam Avenue. Other venues will include the Intrepid Air, Sea & Space Museum; Museum of the Moving Image; JCC Harlem, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Some other films that are part of the festival include “Mad to be Normal,” which stars actress Elizabeth Moss, and “Mind over Matter,” a documentary about a rock and roll guitarist with Cerebral Palsy.
People with disabilities are the most underrepresented minority in American media, according to the Reel Abilities Film Festival. At the opening night ceremony, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will give a Spotlight Award to actress and activist Marlee Matlin. She is the only deaf performer to have won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Role, and has made many contributions to New York City’s creative community.
“Marlee has used her celebrity to advocate for others in her community and continues to give back, paving the way for differently-abled actors and actresses of the next generation,” said Mayor’s Office and Media Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin in a statement. Previous honorees include Nasir “Nas” Jones and “Late Night” host Seth Meyers.
Some other events that are part of this year’s festival include “Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0,” a workshop for aspiring filmmakers and media professionals with disabilities, and an Advocacy in Action Shabbat Dinner. You can purchase a ticket for the festival, or learn more about venues and screening times, at www.realabilities.org/newyork.