ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival


Again this year we are pleased to join with several other foundations in supporting the ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival.  This collection of carefully curated films provides surprising and enjoyable glimpses into the lives of people around the world who happen to have disabilities.  The full schedule of screenings and venues can be found here; those of you in Boston are warmly invited to join us for any and all of them.

–Jay Ruderman

Reel Abilities: The Boston Disabilities Film Festival 2013

By Jeffrey B. Remz, communications and marketing manager, Boston Jewish Film Festival

When people who are so-called “able-bodied” consider people with disabilities, the attitude may be one of pity or the thought may be “there but for the grace of God go I.”  Happily, the films in the second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival quickly blow these reactions away.

ReelAbilities 2013 is presented by the Boston Jewish Film Festival and runs from January 31 through February 5. It showcases nine international films about the lives of people with a range of disabilities from a variety of communities. The films are honest, high-quality, straightforward, and cover a lot of territory.

Films include characters with autism (the Australian film “Mary and Max” and the Israeli film “Mabul”), Down syndrome (the Spanish film “Me, Too”), mental illness (the Finnish film “Princess”), physical disabilities (the Mozambican film “Body and Soul”) and blindness (the French film “The Straight Line”).

Image from the film “Me, Too (Yo, Tambien)”. The main characters are sitting side by side on a beach.

Image from the film “Me, Too (Yo, Tambien)”

“Me, Too (Yo, Tambien)” focuses on a 34-year-old man with Down syndrome who works in a governmental agency in Spain. He becomes friends with a fellow worker who struggles with substantial life issues and eventually falls for her. In the film, lead actor Pablo Pineda is charming, funny, smart and far more together than his co-worker. He has love and support from others, something his friend sorely lacks. In real life, Pineda was the first person with Down syndrome to graduate from a European university.

The Mozambican documentary “Body and Soul” depicts three people with physical disabilities who are not dissuaded from having dreams of opening a shop or feeling a sense of self-worth and achievement.

Opening night’s “Mary and Max” is an engaging and unique claymation film based on a true story: a lonely 8-year-old girl becomes pen pals with a 44-year-old Jewish man from New York with Asperger syndrome (AS). This film offers insight into the life of one man with AS, as well as the trials and tribulations of growing up in a difficult family. It reminds us that we all have challenges, only some of which are disabilities.


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