ReelAbilities Film Festival showcases award-winning international films presenting the stories and artistic expression of people with disabilities. It is the largest film festival in the world dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. ReelAbilities brings communities together to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.
The 2021 ReelAbilities New York Film Festival will be held virtually April 29-May 5! Commonpoint Queens is proud to partner with the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan to bring access to these films and live Zoom Q+A to you. When purchasing tickets to these films, please use the code COMRFF21 to receive a $2 discount and support Commonpoint Queens!
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Dir. Jen Rainin
95 mins – Documentary – US
In 1990, with a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track, and chutzpah for days, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian lifestyle magazine ever published. Decades later, when a fading legacy and disabling injury cause Stevens to reassess her life, she sets out on a journey to learn about today’s LGBTQIA activists to help determine the path forward.
Dir. Matthew Orr
81 mins – Documentary – US
The personal journey of Hugh Herr, a double amputee and MIT scientist who creates brain-controlled robotic limbs. At 17, Hugh survived a near-death experience while climbing Mount Washington. Stunned by the prosthetic he was given, and realizing there was untapped potential for such devices, Hugh set out to improve the field of prosthetics. His innovative success leads to a major scientific breakthrough, a radical new way of performing amputations, and more.
BEST SUMMER EVER
Dir. Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli
80 min – Musical/Comedy – US
Sage (Shannon DeVido) and Anthony (Ricky Wilson, Jr.) had the best summer ever after falling in love at summer camp. By a twist of fate, Sage arrives unexpectedly at the same high school as Anthony at the start of the new school year. Now faced with the drama of cliques, an evil cheerleader, and the illegal secret that keeps Sage’s family on the move, they are forced to re-evaluate their relationship. This history-making musical features eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities.
Tickets: https://watch.eventive.org/reelabilities/play/604a5f2322b293005c3136bb (Use discount code COMRFF21)
Tickets to screening at the Queens Drive-in at the New York Hall of Science: https://mmjccm.org/node/55121
Dir. Chandler Evans, Sachi Cunningham
93 mins – Documentary – US
Crutch chronicles the life of artist Bill Shannon, an internationally renowned breakdancer and skateboarder on crutches, as he uses his performance art skills to shine light on his prowess and power, tearing apart the world of assumptions that surrounds us all.
IN A DIFFERENT KEY
Dir. Caren Zucker, John Donvan
102 mins – Documentary – US
A mother tracks down the first person ever diagnosed with autism in rural Mississippi to learn whether his life story holds promise for her own autistic son. Her journey exposes a startling record of cruelty and kindness alike—framed by forces like race, money, and privilege. She ultimately finds hope for a future with greater acceptance for those who are considered different.
Dir. Sergio Morkin
80 mins – Documentary – Mexico
Maricarmen Graue is a cello player, music teacher, writer, and marathon runner. Blind and living alone, she subverts any expectations of helplessness with a biting sense of humor and a fierce attitude. Swaying between laughter and a bare-boned meditation on the act of living, Maricarmen navigates the trials and triumphs of a strong, perseverant woman.
NOT GOING QUIETLY
Dir. Nicholas Bruckman
96 mins – Documentary – US
When activist and new father Ady Barkan is diagnosed with ALS and given four years to live, he finds himself directly impacted by a new legislation proposal jeopardizing essential healthcare programs critical to Ady’s and others’ survival. After a chance confrontation with Senator Jeff Flake goes viral, Ady embarks on a cross-country tour, using his final breaths to fight for healthcare justice to try and create a better world for his newborn son to inherit.
Dir. Ignacio Márquez
91 mins – Drama – Venezuela
Chuo, a charming young man with Down syndrome, must navigate the challenges of early adulthood as he seeks to build a life of independence from his troubled father. Long separated by an ocean of silence and shame, will the two men be able to build a common future?
THE WORLD IS BRIGHT
Dir. Ying Wang
116 mins – Documentary – Canada
What would you do if your only child died mysteriously in another country and was buried in your absence? The World Is Bright follows the epic 10-year journey of an elderly Chinese couple searching for the truth behind their son’s death in Canada. What starts as a murder mystery becomes something else entirely—a rare revelation about immigration, mental health, and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy at the heart of global migration.
Short Films – Free with RSVP
Q+A: Sat, May 1, 2PM
Q+A: Sat, May 1, 4PM
Q+A: Sat, May 1, 6PM
Q+A: Sun, May 2, 2PM
For more information, please contact Karen Strauss at [email protected]