2016 WAS A TOUGH YEAR FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, ESPECIALLY WHEN A CERTAIN POLITICIAN MOCKED A DISABLED REPORTER. But that wasn’t the first time someone has been bullied for those kinds of differences. There is a long-standing problem with how we treat people who are differently abled, which is why the “ReelAbilities” festival was born. It was founded in New York City 10 years ago, and is in its fifth year in Houston. This year, Mayor SYLVESTER TURNER will join the Honorary Committee. The film portion of the festival will take place February 19–23 at the Edwards Greenway movie theater. All 15 screenings are free – but advance reservations are suggested (reserve tickets online at www.ReelAbilitiesHouston. org). I have attended this event and it’s heartwarming to see people with “real abilities” in the spotlight.
ReelAbilities is a free, citywide arts festival that cel- ebrates the lives, stories and talents of people living with disabilities. There is a film festival, live music jam, series of thought leadership talks and traveling seminars in Houston schools and businesses – all with the purpose of promoting inclusion and generating awareness about the art made by and about people living with various levels of ability.
The festival starts on Valentine’s Day (so appropriate!) with a screening of ReelAbilities short films at the Houston Ballet headquarters downtown. The festival closes at the Secret Group space on February 23 with a performance by ReelMusic, an all-inclusive jazz and blues music jam in which professional musicians invite artists with disabilities to perform with them. In between (along with the films), there will be “ReelPeople: UPAbilities,” an event in partnership with The UP Experience which is a series of intellec- tually stimulating, 20-minute discussions. Additionally, Houston will continue to extend the ReelAbilities mission to local schools, via ReelEducation, and busi- nesses, through its ReelWorkplace program, to con- duct interactive sessions about the ways students and employees can respectfully live and work alongside their peers and colleagues living with disabilities. And finally, the festival also has a visual art component: “ReelArt: The Art of Celebration” will celebrate the grand opening of the Center for Art and Photography at Celebration Company, a public showroom and gallery to sell the artwork, photography and products of artists with disabilities. The exhibition will be up until March 31 at Jewish Family Services, the headquarters of Celebration Company.
WANT TO SEE MORE ART FILMS? | CHECK OUT THESE VENUES
14 Pews (www.14pews.org)
Alamo Drafthouse (www.drafthouse.com)
Asia Society (www.asiasociety.org/texas)
Aurora Picture Show (www.aurorapictureshow.org)
Blaffer Art Museum (www.blafferartmuseum.org)
Café Brasil (www.cafe-brasil.net)
Contemporary Arts Museum (www.camh.org)
Discovery Green (www.discoverygreen.com)
Holocaust Museum (www.hmh.org)
Jewish Community Center (www.erjcchouston.org)
Landmark River Oaks Theatre (www.landmarktheatres.com)
Menil Collection (www.menil.org)
Miller Outdoor Theatre (www.milleroutdoortheatre.com)
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (www.mfah.org/films)
Orange Show (www.orangeshow.org)
Rice Cinema (www.ricecinema.rice.edu)
Sundance Cinemas (www.sundancecinemas.com)