The annual ReelAbilities Film Festival features inspiring and touching films, documentaries, shorts and talks about living with autism, Alzheimers, epilepsy, mental illness, vision loss and other disabilities, including featuring actors with Down syndrome and in wheelchairs.
There are both FREE and ticketed events.
The film festival opens with a musical romance and closes with a documentary about an ALS activist.
This year, the festival is virtual, April 29 to May 5.
The ReelAbilities Film Festival opening night is the Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli’s inclusive musical romancer Best Summer Ever, executive produced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ted Danson, Amy Brenneman, and Mary Steenburgen.
Gyllenhaal, Sarsgaard and Benjamin Bratt have cameo roles in the feature shot with a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. It premiered at SXSW
Best Summer Ever also stars Shannon DeVido, Ricky Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Ajani “AJ” Murray, Eileen Grubba and Holly Palmer
It screens at the Queens Drive-In, at the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science museum in Flushing Meadow Park. It is the only one of nearly two dozen films and events which is in-person and not virtual.
The 13th edition of ReelAbilities closes with Not Going Quietly, Nicholas Bruckman’s documentary about ALS-struck health care activist Ady Barkan that also bowed at SXSW.
ReelAbilities additional featured films include:
Chandler Evans and Sachi Cunningham’s Crutch, about a famed breakdancer and skateboarder on crutches;
Sergio Morkin’s Maricarmen, a portrait of a blind cello player, writer and marathon runner;
Ignacio Márquez’ The Special, a coming-of-age tale about a charming young man with Down syndrome.
There also are two FREE talks with author Jodi Samuels about parenting children with disabilities.
Individual tickets are $12. A five-film pass is $45 (does not include opening night)
The ReelAbilities Film Festival also honors classical violinist Itzhak Perlman.
The 2021 festival also plans a few in-person film screenings at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the Jacob Burns Film Center, Maysles Cinema and other partner cinemas across the city.
See the full schedule and description of films here: