The Reelabilities Film Festival makes its Twin Cities premiere November 1-5 in Minneapolis, bringing an array of films by and for people with disabilities.
The Twin Cities will be one of several cities hosting films by and about people with disabilities as part of the nationwide event ReelAbilities: New York Disabilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.
Started in in 2007, the festival presents award winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout each host city. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together community members to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.
Efforts to plan the film festival started several months ago. Those involved are pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response. “We’ve touched a nerve in the community,” said Norm Munk, chief executive officer of Partnership Resources Inc. The St. Louis Parkbased nonprofit provides employment and arts experience opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.
Many community partners have joined together to promote ReelAbilities. Twin Cities Public Television has been promoting the festival, as has the cable access show Disability Viewpoint. KARE 11 News will feature the film festival October 19.
Munk said festival planners are grateful for the outpouring of support for the festival. “It’s like the community has been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time. We’ve had an unbelievable show of support.”
Bringing the film festival to the Twin Cities means the opportunity to see films from around the world. “These are not typical movies with stars,” Munk said. “These are films by, for and about the community. They really honor our world.”
Venues for films, performances and other events are MacPhail Center for Music, 501 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis, and the Film Society’s St Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main St., Minneapolis.The Pracna on Main restaurant by St. Anthony Main Theater will also host events. The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, Minnesota’s leading exhibitor of independent and international cinema, and host of the annual Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. All venues are fully accessible.
Events start at noon, Friday, November 1with a glee club performance and other fun at McPhail. The free opening reception is 5 – 7 p.m. that evening at Pracna on Main. For the complete schedule of events, go to www.reelabilities.org and click on Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Nine films from around the world are planned in the Twin Cities. One is “Anita”, which is in Spanish with English subtitles. It is about a young woman with Down syndrome who gets separated from her mother after a bomb explodes at their Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. As Anita wanders the city, searching for her mom– alone for the first time ever–she discovers an inner strength few could have expected.
Another film, “Ocean Heaven,” is from China. Jet Li, in his first dramatic role, stars in this moving story of a father’s tireless love for his autistic son and his attempt to teach his son the life skills necessary to survive on his own. It is a poignant tribute to parents’ infinite love for their children.
The United States-made film “Shooting Beauty” tells the story of fashion photographer Courtney Bent. Her career took an unexpected turn when she discovers a hidden world of beauty at a center for people living with significant disabilities. Shot over the span of a de-cade, this film allows viewers to watch as Bent overcomes her own unspoken prejudices and begins inventing cameras accessible to her new friends. Her efforts grew into an award-winning photography program.