The ReelAbilities Film Festival Returns to Lehman College on March 12 and 13

Lehman College will proudly host the 10th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York on March 12 and 13. All screenings will be held in the East Dining Room in the Music Building on campus. The festival is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

The 2018 festival will be shown at more than 30 other venues across all five boroughs, as well as venues on Long Island and in Westchester and Rockland counties, making it the most geographically accessible festival in the country. Utilizing various technologies, the festival strives to offer the most accessible programs for those with special needs of all kinds. For the first time, the festival will offer audio description for all its feature films.

“We feel very proud that Lehman was the first college in CUNY to participate in the festival,” said Merrill Parra, director of student disability services at Lehman College. “Most people, unless they have firsthand experience, know so little about disability. The festival goes a long way to debunk myths and stereotypes; it showcases the humanity in all of us.”

The ReelAbilities Film Festival seeks to promote awareness of the stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities by celebrating the diversity of the shared human experience through engaging films and events. The festival also encourages inclusion and authentic portrayals in cinema of people with disabilities, the most underrepresented minority in American media. Following the flagship New York festival, selections from this year’s program travel to ReelAbilities’ growing network of festivals around North America that take place throughout the year.

The feature films being shown as Lehman College this year are:

Ballad from Tibet, a Chinese film, based on a true story, about four young students from a school for the blind who embark on an odyssey from their remote village in Tibet to the giant city Shenzhen in order to sing on a TV talent competition.

Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw, which tells the story of basketball phenom Holdsclaw from her WNBA stardom to her struggle with mental illness.

Stanley For Stanley, a Polish film about a man and young boy who were both born without arms—several dozen years apart. A remarkable painter—accomplished by using his feet—Stanislaw has become a friend, uncle, and mentor to young Staś. Their story is not only a testimony to the unique understanding that exists between people afflicted with a common condition, but also a lesson about how to react to intolerance towards people with disabilities.

Out of My Head, an American documentary directed by Susanna Styron, that investigates the devastating migraines that have frequently debilitated her daughter and exposes the reality behind what is much more than a bad headache; in fact migraines are a mysterious and stigmatized neurological disease afflicting nearly a billion people worldwide (the film features celebrated writer Joan Didion reading from her legendary essay “In Bed”).

Each day, the festival begins with a series of film shorts at 4 p.m. followed by the features that begin at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 12, and at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13.

ReelAbilities is the largest festival in the country dedicated to presenting films made by and about people with different disabilities whether physical, developmental, or psychological. Through film and special events, ReelAbilities seeks to unite the community in sharing and exploring stories of people living and thriving with disabilities.

“ReelAbilities is New York’s largest celebration of the disability community,” adds Isaac Zablocki, director and cofounder of the festival. “Making this our most inclusive event to date allows the entire community to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this impactful festival together. We present great films that absolutely anyone can enjoy and be further impacted by the conversations.”

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Media Contact:
Joseph Tirella