Home » Cultural Arts » ReelAbilities


The ReelAbilities Film Festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. The festival presents award-winning films, accompanied by discussions and other engaging programs which bring together the community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Film screening times and locations will be announced this fall.

– Talk Backs explore and discuss the themes presented in each film. Speakers are professionals in the field or individuals living with the highlighted disability.

Meeting Special Needs is a Priority at the Weinstein JCC
We offer a unique inclusive setting for those with special needs. Through the Weinstein JCC Early Childhood and Summer Camp programs, we promote supportive and growing relationships that strengthen individuals and families. Serving the unmet needs of those with developmental disabilities through social, educational, and recreational opportunities is a strong part of our commitment to the Richmond community.

TyingShoesRAThe Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes
Lena Koppel / Sweden / Swedish / 100 min | View the trailer.
Sunday, April 12 at 3:00 PM at the Weinstein JCC
*Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.*

When Alex gets a job as the leader of a local theater group for people with disabilities, his outlook on life begins to change. Through the theater group’s work, Alex comes to appreciate that every person has his or own talents, which can grow if given the opportunity and support.

Lost and Sound stills - Nick 1 HIGH RESLost and Sound
Lindsey Dryden / UK / English / 76 min | View the trailer.
Wednesday, April 15 at 6:00 PM at The Depot at VCU
*Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.*

One out of seven people will experience hearing loss in their lifetime. For music critic Nick Coleman, dancer Emily Thornton, and pianist Holly Loach, music and hearing were central to their lives and spirits pre-hearing loss. Lost and Sound follows these artists after they lost their hearing and as they journeyed deep into sound and silence to rediscover music. Made by a partially deaf filmmaker after the future of her own hearing was called into doubt, the film weaves its way through a startling world of altered sound. It combines intimate filming with original animation, a rich musical soundtrack (often manipulated to reveal what deafness actually sounds like), and new insights from the world’s top neuroscientists, to tell the story of the great human love affair with music. Featuring: New York Times bestseller Dr. David Eagleman, composer Professor Nigel Osborne, Dr. Katie Overy, Prof. David Huron, Dr. Robert Zatorre and science writer Philip Ball.

Rita Kotzia / USA / English / 76 min |
View the trailer.
Thursday, April 16 at 7:00 PM at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond
*Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.*
When Ross McKenzie was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he was told he would have to take lithium for the rest of his life. To Ross, taking the drug daily felt like a chemical lobotomy, leaving him in a foggy, drug-induced haze, so he opted to resolve his symptoms outside of conventional medicine. Thus Ross began a fifteen year journey to treat his symptoms through alternative treatments and to discover the cause of his mental breakdown. Bipolarized uses Ross’ personal experiences as well as interviews with activists and psychiatrists to tell a larger, timely story about medication.

STAND_CLEAR_OF_THe_CLOSING_DOORS_1_PUBSStand Clear of the Closing Doors
Sam Fleischner / USA / English / Spanish / 107 min | View the trailer.
Saturday, April 18 at 9:00 PM at Strangeways Brewing Co.
*Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.*
13-year-old Ricky lives in Rockaway Beach with his sister and mother, Mariana, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Ricky, who has autism, is deeply imaginative but painfully isolated and struggles to cope with the day to day. While his mother watches in helpless frustration, Ricky’s difficulties continue to separate him from the world around him. One day after Ricky’s sister leaves him to get home from school alone, he escapes in a panic into the NYC subway system. Overwhelmed by his surroundings, he loses track of space and time in the massive, underground labyrinth, observing scenes of urban pathos and oddity while his body weakens from hunger. Fittingly shot in post-Hurricane Sandy, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
beautifully illustrates Ricky’s solitude in the crowded sea of New York and his family’s daily struggles to create an accommodating world for Ricky and to survive as low-income immigrants to the US.