Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Is This the Most Important Film Festival in the World?

Hyperbole? Perhaps a little, but for 13 years the RealAbilities Film Festival has been  showcasing a global array of films about the lives of people with disabilities, almost always as told by those people themselves. They are not just the subjects of the films but the creators. Obviously there are other film festivals that have a powerful impact on the world around us, such as the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival and countless festivals celebrating and giving voice to previously marginalized communities. Like those other festivals, ReelAbilities is about empowering people who have been ignored, but what sets ReelAbilities a little apart, I think, is the range of extra-cinematic events that surround the festival and the fact that over time the programs have expanded to numerous other cities besides New York. The NY edition just completed its run -- my bad and I apologize profusely -- but just before it opened I had a chat with Isaac Zablocki, one of the founders and the head of film programming at the festivals home, the Marlene Meyerson JCC in Manhattan, and we reviewed the history that has gone into the event.

If you want to find out more about ReelAbilities with the people who make if possible, you should check out the website. There are three more editions of the festival opening in May: Denver (Wednesday May 5), Boston (Thursday May 6), and Toronto (Wednesday May 26). 

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