ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest film festival in the world dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Founded in New York in 2007 by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout the city.
Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring communities together to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. The New York festival is the launching pad for an international program and its selections run satellite ReelAbilities festivals in over 20 cities worldwide. Learn more at ny.reelabilities.org.
ReelAbilities presents a live reading of a pilot written by Julie Klausner (creator/star of Difficult People; host, How Was Your Week) and Alex Scordelis (writer, Billy on the Street, Difficult People, Triumph specials) starring Shannon DeVido (Difficult People, Insatiable, Best Summer Ever). Co-sponsored by WGA East.
This event will have live captions.
About: In November of 2018, Julie Klausner and Alex Scordelis set out to write a script that asked the question: What if there was a TV show starring a lead with a disability who was as arrogant as Eastbound and Down’s Kenny Powers? They called the series Disgraced and wrote the pilot with one star in mind: The phenomenally talented comedian and actor, Shannon DeVido.
In Disgraced, Shannon DeVido plays Sloane DiNapoli, a woman who writes a best-selling scandalous memoir about growing up in a cult in her small Catskills hometown. When it’s uncovered that her book was totally fabricated (there was no cult: she wasn’t even in the Girl Scouts), Sloane is forced to move back to the Catskills and confront the family and neighbors she publicly (and falsely) ridiculed during her bumpy road to redemption.
Join us for a table read of the pilot script for Disgraced. It’s never been heard out loud before, so come be a part of history. Shannon will be joined by Julie and Alex, plus an ensemble of actors to make this pilot script come to life.
Special Events Schedule
Thursday, April 29, 2021
7:30pm EDT – Opening Night Event at the Queens Drive-In featuring Best Summer Ever. In partnership with Rooftop Films, Museum of the Moving Image, and New York Hall of Science (doors open 6:30pm)
Opening Night Remarks featuring Itzhak Perlman, a performance from Lachi, and more
8:15 pm EDT: Film Begins, followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.
Friday, April 30, 2021
6pm EDT – Ahead of the Curve Q+A co-presented by Maysles Documentary Center
Saturday, May 1, 2021
2pm EDT – Short Films 1 Q+A (Single, Verisimilitude, Wiggle Room, How Much Am I Worth?) Co-presented by NYPL
4pm EDT – Short Films 2 Q+A (David, Dead End Drive, Deafinition, Second Time, I’m so Far, The Secret Life of Tom Lightfoot) Co-presented by NYPL
6pm EDT – Short Films 3 Q+A (Charon, Coexist, My Layers, Strange, Hal and Minter)
8pm EDT – Crutch Q+A co-presented by NYU Center for Disability Studies/Center for Media, Culture & History
Sunday, May 2, 2021
2pm EDT – Short Films 4 Q+A (Full Picture, Neurim, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Daddy’s Girl)
4pm EDT – Game Changers Panel Discussion including Lauren Ridloff (The Eternals, Sound of Metal).
The past few years have marked an undeniable shift in the TV and film industries on what it means to tell an authentic story. Creators with lived experiences with disabilities are starring, producing, and representing refreshing perspectives that are emerging in the forefront of mainstream media. With the emergence of streamers and the content landscape wider than ever, what does it mean to tell an authentic story? How do disability stories expand into the mainstream? How does this shift affect the future of disability representation in the media and beyond?
6pm EDT – The Special Q+A co-presented by Cinema Arts Center
Monday, May 3, 2021
1pm EDT – Fashion, Beauty, and Disability Panel Discussion: Intersectionality and Representation Through a Fashion Lens
Join a panel discussion featuring models, designers and advocates leading intersectional representation of people with disabilities in the fashion and beauty industries. Moderated by Xian Horn. Panelists: Kristen KR Liu, Natalie Trevon, Dana Zumbo, Aubrie Lee
3pm EDT – Black Future Month: Legacy, Present & Afro-Futurism Panel Discussion
Join ADA30-Lead-On in a conversation about the history, impact, and purpose of the ADA and its unfulfilled goal of inclusion and diversity. Hear from disabled artists, innovators, and advocates and their allies, on the realities that keep us from the American “dream.” Panel will include Black-disabled filmmakers: Keith Jones, JD Michaels, Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Safiya Eshe Gyasi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Trelanda R. Lowe.
5pm EDT – Maricarmen Q+A
7:30pm EDT – ReelAbilities Comedy Night on the Meyerson Family Roof Terrace including comedians Maysoon Zayid, Tina Friml, and Martin Phillips. Hosted by Pamela Schuller. Sponsored by Chapel Haven Schleifer Center.
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
1pm EDT – Augmented Q+A
3pm EDT – Lights! Camera! Access! Dolby and Blackmagic Filmmaking Workshops
5pm EDT – The World Is Bright Q+A co-presented by DCTV
7pm EDT – In a Different Key Q+A co-presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
5pm EDT – Disgraced – Live Reading
Unproduced pilot written by Julie Klausner (creator/star of Difficult People; host, How Was Your Week) and Alex Scordelis (writer, Billy on the Street, Difficult People, Triumph specials), starring Shannon DeVido (Difficult People, Insatiable, Best Summer Ever). Co-sponsored by Writers Guild of America, East.
7pm EDT – Closing Night event Not Going Quietly Q+A + Special Guest Temple Grandin. Ady Barkan (subject), Liz Jaff (subject), Nicholas Bruckman (director), Amanda Roddy (producer)
About the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Together with its community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Located on 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants’ minds, bodies, and spirits.
Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs, classes, and events that reach beyond neighborhood boundaries, reaching people at all stages of their lives. Learn more at mmjccm.org.
ReelAbilities strives for inclusion of all people. All films are screened with open captions and all venues are wheelchair accessible. ASL interpretation, CART, Audio Description, and information in Braille are available upon advance request. Individuals needing accommodations to participate should contact the screening venue directly at least two weeks in advance of the event.