Third Annual ‘ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver’ Nov. 17-19

Third Annual ‘ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver’ Promotes Awareness and Appreciation of the Lives, Stories, and Artistic Expressions of People with Disabilities ~

DENVER, Colo., October 17, 2023 – The third annual ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver promotes awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. The festival includes 13 films and shorts along with supplemental programming which sheds light on and celebrates those with disabilities through the arts. The festival runs November 17-19, 2023 at the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center in Denver. The festival is for everyone including those with disabilities, disability advocates, artists, allies, film buffs, and more.

“The ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver is important because it provides the community with a way to support those with disabilities through the arts and film, and it provides an opportunity for people in Denver to enjoy films that may not be shown in mainstream media,” said Ari Shahbazi, interim director of the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center. “Some of the films in the festival are about someone’s journey with a disability, and some are meant for pure entertainment, not to call attention to a specific disability or ask viewers to learn about it.” 

Films showing during the festival include:

  • 11/17 at 6 p.m. Opening Night – Long Live My Happy Head preceded by The Body is a House of Familiar Rooms
  • 11/18 at 2 p.m. Short Reels, A Compilation – Borderline Coffee, The Multi, Single, Second Time, Wheels, Extra Special, I’m So Far
  • 11/18 at 6 p.m. Family Night – Jasmine Is A Star (Recommended for ages 12+)
  • 11/19 at 2 p.m. Closing Day – Any Given Day
  • 11/19 at 6 p.m. Closing Night – No Bone: Scars Of Survival preceded by Brainstorms

 During the festival, the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center partners with local organizations to enhance the festival experience. Through the supplemental programming offered in conjunction with some of the films, festival goers will have the chance to learn about and connect with organizations in the community who are supporting those with disabilities. For example, on opening night there will be artists from Access Gallery drawing caricatures for attendees during the dessert reception. Access Gallery is a nonprofit that engages the community by opening doors to creative, educational and economic opportunities for people with disabilities to access, experience and benefit from the arts. On closing day, after the film Any Given Day, a panel of mental health professionals from National Alliance on Mental Illness and WellPower will lead a discussion about the film and talk about what the City of Denver and state of Colorado are doing to change the way our criminal justice system works, what resources are available to those in a mental health crisis and what the community can do.

New components of the festival this year include:

  • The short film compilation on November 18 which includes four short films.
  • The Boulder Jewish Community Center will be showing eight films through ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver on December 3. 
  • Access Gallery will be hosting an art exhibition called Heart and Soul in the Mizel Reception Room at the JCC Denver from November 14-December 1. It features works of art created through the Artistic Realization Technologies (A.R.T.) program. A.R.T. empowers artists who have limited or no use of their hands to fully direct the artmaking process from start to finish. A person called a tracker is assigned to each artist to transfer their creative thoughts to the canvas. 
  • A Fashion Accessibility Panel will be hosted by Phamaly Theatre Company after the film Jasmine Is A Star on November 18. 
  • A panel of experts from National Alliance on Mental Illness and WellPower will speak about mental health and our justice system after the films No Bone: Scars Of Survival preceded by Brainstorms on November 19. 

The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center has worked to make ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver accessible to all in the following ways: 

  • The Elaine Wolf Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Patrons who need wheelchair access seating should contact the Mizel Arts and Culture Center box office for reservations.
  • Sliding scale ticketing allows participation of all interested community members at a ticket price that is accessible to them. Prices range from $6.50 to $17. 
  • All spoken content will offer ASL interpretation. 
  • Many films will include open captions and audio descriptions. 
  • All films will be available virtually from November 17-20 for those who prefer to watch the films from the comfort of home.

The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center is located in the south facing lot of the Staenberg – Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For a complete list of films, for more information, and to purchase tickets, visit jccdenver.org/reelabilities.

About Jcc Mizel Arts And Culture Center
As one of the Rocky Mountain region’s premier arts organizations, the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center illuminates the human experience through creative and cultural programs in the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts for the Jewish community and the Denver community at-large. The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is a Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) and is guided by a mission that is focused specifically on arts and cultural programs. A variety of festivals are offered throughout the year including Denver Jewish Film Festival, JAAMM Fest (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music Fest), and ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver. The Mizel Arts and Culture Center is also home to the Denver Children’s Theatre, providing students with the opportunity to experience live theatre. The JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center is located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit www.jccdenver.org/arts-culture or call 303-316-6360

About Reelabilities Film Festival
ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the U.S. dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Founded in New York City in 2007, the festival presents international and award-winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout New York and then travels internationally to cities across the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. 

About Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center
The Staenberg – Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) serves the metro-Denver area through educational, social, cultural, fitness, sports and other programs that are rooted in Jewish tradition and values. The JCC Denver’s mission is to create a vibrant and inclusive family and social gathering place, guided by these timeless Jewish values. The JCC Denver’s five program areas focus on connection, community and well-being and include: a robust fitness, sports, tennis and aquatic center; early childhood engagement, including the Early Learning School and a variety of programs for families; the Mizel Arts and Culture Center which offers the Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies & Music Festival (JAAMM Fest), Denver Jewish Film Festival, and ReelAbilities Film Festival; summer camps including Ranch Camp, Camp Shai and Wolf Theatre Academy; and engagement programming for teens, young adults, seniors and the LGBTQIA+ community. The JCC Denver is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located at 350 S. Dahlia Street in Denver. For more information, visit www.jccdenver.org, like us on Facebook and Instagram @jccdenver or call (303) 399-2660.

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