New York Disabilities Film Festival Premieres in September

Bookmark and Share

Wed, 08/27/2008 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Realabilities: The First Annual NY Disabilities Film Festival debuts this fall simultaneously in 14 locations throughout the New York metropolitan area. From September 21-23 Realabilities will showcase feature documentary and short films by and about the lives of people with disabilities. 
 Premiering the week before National Disability Awareness Month Realabilities aims to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. Discussions and other engaging programs will bring together the community to explore discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

This year’s film line-up includes: War Eagle Arkansas. Robert Milazzo director. Drama 90 minutes. US 2007. This story of friendship between Enoch Cass a star pitcher with a debilitating stutter and Samuel “Wheels” Macon his best friend with cerebral palsy finds these two at the crossroads of childhood and independence. Will Enoch decide to pursue his own interests or remain shackled to his hometown and its people?

Ben X (NY Premiere). Nic Balthazar director. Drama 93 minutes. Belgium 2007. Ben lives in a universe unto itself. He hides from his harsh reality of school being bullied and awkward social interactions by escaping into his favorite online computer game Archlord where he is safe strong and in control of his surroundings. In this remarkable drama Ben devises a plan to leave his reality and become the hero he dreams of being. Every Time You Look at Me. Alrick Riley director. Drama 87 minutes. UK 2004. In this ground-breaking BBC film Chris and Nicky meet across a crowded nightclub. There's an undeniable spark but falling in love with another disabled person is the last thing either of them is looking for. This modern day love story questions relationships: “Every time you look at me you see yourself…” Outsider: The Life and Art of Judith Scott. Betsy Bayha director. Documentary 26 minutes. US 2006. In this award-winning film Judith Scott creates body-like sculptures from found objects. Judith has Down syndrome is deaf and does not speak. These sculptures are her most complex means of communication. Judith had become a famous “outsider artist ” proving the power of artistic expression and the importance of a loving family.

 Shameless: The Art of Disability. Bonnie Sherr Klein director. Documentary 76 minutes. Canada 2006. Director Bonnie Sherr Klein gathers a crew of artists with diverse disabilities for a pajama party. A comedian poet dancer and others take a subversive look at Hollywood stereotypes of people with disabilities. They decide to continue meeting and together embark on a mission to create their own images of disability.

 Silent Games (US premiere). Yael Klopmann director. Documentary 74 minutes. Israel 2008. The captivating story of an Israeli national deaf soccer team set out to become one of the top eight contenders in the 2007 World Championship in Bulgaria. Through ground-breaking techniques award-winning director Yael Klopmann follows the stars of this team through their victories and hardships.   

 Snow Cake. Marc Evans director. Drama 112 minutes. UK 2007. This festival favorite starring Sigourney Weaver follows the story of Alex an ex-convict on a road trip who picks up Vivienne an eccentric hitchhiker. A serious car accident kills Vivienne prompting Alex to visit Vivienne’s mother. What he discovers is a woman with high-functioning autism who convinces him to stay after the funeral. In those few days Alex discovers new friends and learns more about the uniqueness of Linda as he struggles to come to terms with his own grief. Special People (NY Premiere). Justin Edgar director. Drama 80 minutes. UK 2007. Enlisted to teach a class about filmmaking to teenagers with disabilities the neurotic Jasper is met with blank indifference and a snappy attitude from the streetwise adolescents. This smartly-written comedy questions condescending outreach projects self-defeating attitudes and the vacuity of the film business—all with a sly wink and a healthy helping of self-parody.

 Stubborn and Spite. Lou Birks director. Drama 3 minutes. UK 2007. Witness the mayhem that ensues when two drivers with disabilities fight over who should get the last disabled parking spot—with drastic and often hilarious consequences.

 Tickets to Realabilities: The First Annual NY Disabilities Film Festival are available online at