REELABILITIES: Boston Disabilities Film Festival to Kick Off Jan 30

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Still from Anita

Newton, MA -- The third ReelAbilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival will explore the theme of journeys in a record-setting 17 films being screened from Jan. 30-Feb. 6 at seven venues in Massachusetts.

One in five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census. "Yet the experiences and perspectives of people with disabilities are too often marginalized, or misunderstood," says Festival Director Ellie Pierce. "Quality films that engage and challenge can play a role in changing this."

"These films invite viewers to join on these journeys, and along the way, transform their understandings about disability and difference," says Pierce.

Journeys are a key part of many of the films:

• The eye opening, often-humorous documentary, "Wretches & Jabberers," finds two adult men with autism traveling the world to challenge understandings about communication. Opening Night Film, Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Emerson College's Bill Bordy Theater.
• In the sometimes harrowing "Wampler's Ascent," Steve Wampler, who has cerebral palsy, takes on a seemingly impossible climb of El Capitan at Yosemite, just inches at a time. Friday, Jan. 31, 11:30 a.m., Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover.
• "Imagine": a charismatic blind teacher with new ideas teaches young, blind children how to navigate the streets and sidewalks of their town with their other senses. Sunday, Feb. 2, 11 a.m., Museum of Fine Arts.
• "Son of the Stars": a desperate young mother and her son with autism travel from the Chinese countryside to a sprawling factory city. Sunday, Feb. 2, 2:30 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts.
• "Come As You Are": a road trip movie, based on a true story, about three young Belgian men with physical disabilities who go to a brothel in Spain to explore their sexuality and learn about themselves. Monday Feb. 3, 7 p.m., West Newton Cinema.
• "Getting Up": TemptOne, a pioneering graffiti artist from Los Angeles with ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease") explores groundbreaking technologies to continue creating art. 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 4 at the Cambridge Public Library.
• "Anita": a charming young woman with Down syndrome, alone for The First Time in Buenos Aires after a terrorist attack at the Jewish community center, must find her way home. 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 5 at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton.

More Festival highlights:

Two nights of short films: Reel Encounters, a series of four short films, on Thursday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m., at the Springfield Jewish Community Center and Reel Encounters - Closing Night on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. at West Newton Cinema

Bonus short: the Boston Premiere local filmmaker Michael Parks Randa's "The Perfect Buddy" will be screened as part of the Closing Night event. Randa and Bobby Bird, an actor appearing in the short, will be on hand for a discussion after the film.

Special events for those in the disabilities community: at Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover, after the screening of "Wampler's Ascent" and a panel of guest speakers active in adaptive sports, the local organization Waypoint Adventure will facilitate a climbing event for members of the Cardinal Cushing Community.




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