SPRINGFIELD – The Fourth Annual ReelAbilities: Boston Film Festival, to be held Feb. 19 – March 2, expands this year to Springfield. The Springfield Kehillah Special Needs Programs, working with Velcro 100 Cameras Project, NEBA (New England Business Associates) and Diane Troderman, bring ReelAbilites to Springfield. The festival is to be held in Honor of Jewish Disabilities Awareness Month
“We are so proud to share the films in this year’s Festival,” says Ellie Pierce, ReelAbilities Festival Director. “The stories that unfold in these engaging, high-quality films offer windows and mirrors for filmgoers, whether they reflect our own life experience, expand our understanding, or both. These films and programs portray a range of abilities and explore the broader human experience.”
This year, the Festival offers a variety of compelling stories and covers diverse themes, from the inspiration of travel to the transformative role of music.
The Springfield Opening Reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Springfield Jewish Community Center. VELCRO® Brand100 Cameras Project Exhibit Reception and Meet the Photographers at 6:30 p.m. and screening of “Shooting Beauty” at 7:30 p.m.
The VELCRO® Brand100 Cameras Project places modified camera systems into the hands of people with disabilities, offering a new way to express and share their lives through a once inaccessible art form. “Shooting Beauty,” an award-winning documentary that chronicles the beginning of Courtney Bent’s experimental photography program. Courtney Bent will participate in a Q&A after the screening.
NEBA (New England Business Associates) together with the Springfield JCC Kehillah Special Needs Programs brings the ReelAbilities Shorts Program to Springfield for a second year on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the
Springfield Jewish Community Center, with Reel Encounters I: A selection of international films ranging from 4 minutes to 17 minutes in length.
The films are:
“46/47” – A provocative short film about Down syndrome offers a unique perspective on disability and difference. 8 mins.
“A Life with Aspergers” – An animated documentary describes the challenges of growing up and living with Asperger’s Syndrome. 4 mins.
“Keep the Change” – David and Sarah, two young people with autism, meet at a support group for people with disabilities. 16 mins.
INTERMISSION with Desserts and Coffee
“Just as I Remember” – Filmmaker Andrew Moir confronts the heartbreaking decisions faced by two fathers living with ALS. 17 mins.
“Motherly (Maadaraaneh)” – A mother who is blind spies on her son as he meets his girlfriend in a park in Tehran. 13 mins.
“The Commute” – A man using a wheelchair tries to get home using public transportation and finds himself on an arduous journey. 4 mins.
On closing night, Monday, March 2 at 7 p.m., Diane Troderman, in honor of Best Buddies and JCC Kehillah Special Needs Program, will present the documentary “Wampler’s Ascent” directed by Jacques Spitzer. Steve Wampler, who has cerebral palsy, must do 20,000 pull-ups to climb famous El Capitan Mountain in Yosemite. The founder of a camp for children with disabilities, he undertakes the journey to prove that anything is possible. However, the harrowing climb tests Steve’s considerable humor, will, and determination.
All programs are free, donations accepted at the door.