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Our Mission

ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the US dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.

Initiated in NY in 2007, the festival presents award winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout each hosting city. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Our Story

ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival

ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival was initiated at the JCC Manhattan in 2007, founded by Anita Altman and Isaac Zablocki. The festival was the first of its kind to present a series of award-winning films by, about and for people with disabilities. Today, screenings take place at multiple venues throughout the New York metro area. All films are followed by discussions that engage the community in promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity, while providing accessible conditions to match the different needs of our multi-layered society.

 

ReelAbilities North American Program

In 2012, other cities across the US followed New York’s footsteps by hosting a ReelAbilities Film Festival, starting at Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, Reelabilities events have been held in over a dozen cities in North America. ReelAbilities events have expanded from the US to Canada and soon – Mexico, and take place in many different forms – film festivals, year round screenings and special programming that goes beyond film. Since its start, ReelAbilities has been consistently receiving an increasing number of outstanding film submissions from across the globe.

The ReelAbilities North America headquarters has recently moved back to NY after being run by Living Arrangements for Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc. in Cincinnati since 2014.

Who is Involved?

Anita Altman, Festival Co-Founder; Chair of National Advisory Committee

In her almost 3 decades working at UJA-Federation of New York, Anita helped put disabilities on the agenda of New York’s Jewish community, founding a Task Force on People with Disabilities, and with philanthropic support, expanded and transformed programming for people with disabilities and their families served by UJA-Federation member agencies. .  Her vision was that a film festival sharing the lives and aspirations of people with disabilities could help raise the consciousness of the New York community about our common humanity and the value of each person, without regard to his or her ability or disability.

She is chair of the ReelAbilities national board.

Isaac Zablocki, Festival Co-Founder; New York ReelAbilities Festival Co-Director

Isaac Zablocki is the Director of film programs at JCC Manhattan. He attended film school at Columbia University and went on to work at Miramax films. Previously, he produced and directed feature films and developed film educational programs for the Board of Education. Since 2004, Isaac has been developing film programs at the JCC including The Israel Film Center. Beyond ReelAbilities, he programs multiple film festivals annually including the acclaimed Other Israel Film Festival about Arab and minority populations in Israel.

Ravit Turjeman, New York ReelAbilities Festival Co-Director and National Film Licensing Coordinator

Founder and Managing Director of Dragoman Films, a NYC-based boutique distribution company, specializing in marketing of Israeli Cinema in North America. Ravit also serves as director and programmer of numerous film festivals in the Tri-State area, among them The Other Israel Film Festival, and NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.With the support of the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B, Ravit works to bring ReelAbilities to communities throughout the country.

Yaara Kedem, ReelAbilities North America Coordinator

Yaara is the coordinator of ReelAbilities North American based in NY. She graduated with a degree in Film & Television and Special Education Studies at Tel Aviv University in Israel. She spent several years working on a variety of film and television related projects, including post-production, program localization, and film brand development for film festivals, interactive gaming, live events, TV networks and children’s programs. Alongside her experience in entertainment, she spent 5 years working as the Travel Director and Tour Leader at a summer camp and travel program for children and teens with special needs based in Pennsylvania.

Email: ReelAbilitiesNA@jccmanhattan.org

National Advisory Committee

The National Advisory Committee makes suggestions and recommendations that help us to carry out the vision, direction and policies of our film festival.

      • Anita Altman, Formally UJA-Federation of NY (New York, NY)
      • Ray Bradford, Bradford Advocacy Group (Los Angeles, CA)
      • Susan Brownknight, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (Cincinnati, OH)
      • Lawrence Carter-Long, Disability Advocate (Washington, D.C.)
      • Patricia Goldman, JZ & NB Butler Foundation (New York, NY)
      • Jeff Harris, Saul Schottenstein Foundation B (Cincinnati, OH)
      • Susan Harris, Saul Schottenstein Foundation B (Cincinnati, OH)
      • Kim Hutchinson, Disability Funders Network (Richmond, VA)
      • Kathy Leichter, Producer/Director (New York, NY)
      • David Robinson, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (Cincinnati, OH)
      • Illana Trachtman, Producer/Director (New York, NY)
      • Danny Woodburn, Actor, Stand-Up Comic, National Screen Actors Guild “Performers with Disbilities Committee” of Screen AG-AFTRA (Los Angeles, CA)
      • Isaac Zablocki, JCC Manhattan (New York, NY)

Film Selection Committee

Who is Involved in Our Partner Cities?

To see who is involved in each partner city, please visit their respective partner city website through the “Find a Festival” feature on our home page.

ReelAbilities Film Festival
A program of JCC Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

ReelAbilitiesNA@jccmanhattan.org  |  (646) 896-3960  |   www.reelabilities.org

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