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Our Mission

ReelAbilities Film Festival brings together the community to promote awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different abilities. ReelAbilities Film Festival showcases films, conversations and artistic programs to explore, 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 JCC Manhattan, in 2007. The festival was the first of its kind to present award-winning films by and about people with disabilities. Screenings take place at multiple venues throughout the New York metro area and are followed by discussions that bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

ReelAbilities Film Festival

In 2012, Cincinnati, Ohio was the first city to follow in New York’s footsteps by hosting a ReelAbilities Film Festival. Since then, the festival has spread to over a dozen cities in North America. Every year, the festival receives thousands of films for consideration submitted from across the globe. In 2014, the festival’s national headquarters moved to Cincinnati where it is being managed by a nonprofit, Living Arrangements for Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc.

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.

Sara Bitter, National Field Director

Sara is a graduate of the Case Western Reserve School of Law and a graduate of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  She has spent the last several years as a disability rights advocate.  Most recently, she co-chaired the 2014 Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival and was the Chair of the Education Outreach Program. In her latter role, she created programs for schools, including the short film “Ethan the Brave”, and presented these programs with members of the Education Outreach Committee to thousands of students. In her role as National Field Director, she oversees the cities hosting the ReelAbilities Film Festival throughout North America.

Jesse Byerly, Multimedia Specialist

Jesse is a Public Allies Americorps Alum and Northern Kentucky University BFA recipient. He creates work promoting a positive self-concept for people and the communities they live in, using photography, videography and design. He has worked to develop projects such as The Mini Microcinema, an experimental film theatre; Ethan The Brave, a collaboratively animated short film about inclusion in schools; and Stages for Youth, a filmmaking camp dedicated to equipping students with skills and tools to make a positive change in their life and surroundings. As the Multimedia Specialist for ReelAbilities, Jesse hopes to help create a more empathetic and expressive community for all of us.

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.

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

          • Anita Altman, Co-Founder of National ReelAbilities Program
          • Mary Archbold, Actress
          • Lynn Bartner-Wiesel, Community Representative
          • Yotam Tubul, JCC Manhattan
          • Pat Goldman, J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation
          • Anita Hollander, Independent Artist, Chair SAG – AFTRA & Performers with Disabilities
          • Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, Clinical Psychologist, Advocate, and Fashion Model
          • Ravit Turjeman, Dragoman Films
          • Isaac Zablocki, JCC Manhattan

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.

All National Sponsor Logos as of 3-24-16

ReelAbilities Film Festival
A program of LADD, Inc. and JCC Manhattan

3603 Victory Parkway Cincinnati, Ohio 45229

reelabilities@laddinc.org  |  513-487-3940  |   www.reelabilities.org

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