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.
ReelAbilities Film Festival
ReelAbilities Film Festival was initiated in New York 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. As the festival progressed, screenings continued to take place at multiple venues across the city and 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 – Latin America, 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 the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in NYC.
Who Are We?
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, she 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.
Festival Co-Founder; ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York 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.
ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York Assistant Director
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 in post-production, program localization, and film brand development for film festivals, interactive gaming, live events, TV networks and children’s programs. Alongside, she was 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.
Sabrina Bleich is the Program Associate for ReelAbilities: New York, as well as for the Israel Film Center, Other Israel Film Festival, and for the film program at JCC Manhattan. Previously, Sabrina studied History at Yale University and has worked in oral history, film, and theater production.