NY Festival Features Films About Lives, Artistic Expressions of People With Disabilities

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What to Know

  • A festival that features films about the lives and artistic expressions of people living with disabilities kicks off in New York this week

  • The 11th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival opens on Tuesday and runs throughout the week at 25 different theater locations

  • ReelAbilities’ co-founder told News 4 the festival aims to expand viewers’ perspectives and make people feel like they’re less alone

A festival that features films about the lives and artistic expressions of people living with disabilities kicks off in New York this week.

The 11th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival opens on Tuesday and runs throughout the week at 25 different theater locations across the New York metropolitan area.

ReelAbilities co-founder Isaac Zablocki told News 4 the festival aims to expand viewers’ perspectives and make people feel like they’re less alone.

“We are showing, every year, all of these films to thousands of people and their lives are forever changed after seeing these films,” Zablocki said.

“These are impressions of people with disabilities that they had never seen before. People who come from that community feel like they’re no longer alone; people who are not from that community are getting a very different perspective of what this life is like,” he added.

ReelAbilities has established film festivals in 20 cities across the country and the world so far.

Zablocki and his colleagues spend much of the year advising corporations on inclusion training, accessibility issues and disability group initiatives.

One of the films in this year’s festival, a documentary called “Shake With Me,” focuses on how artist Debra Magid lives and works with Parkinson’s disease.

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Her son, Zack Grant, directed the film.

“I don’t want to be singled out as being different, or being ‘less than,’” Magid told News 4.

“I just want to be respected, and that’s what I’m hoping the film festival will help people see… that everybody just does it differently, but everybody is a person.”



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