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Inspiring Houston film festival spotlights triumph over disability

Inspiring Houston film festival spotlights triumph over disability

ReelAbilities films 2019
The inspirational Just Go. Photo courtesy of ReelAbilities
ReelAbilities films 2019
A cowboy gets back on the horse in The Rider Photo courtesy of ReelAbilities
ReelAbilities films 2019
Mind Game spotlights mental health. Photo courtesy of ReelAbilities
ReelAbilities films 2019
ReelAbilities films 2019
ReelAbilities films 2019

Back for its seventh year, the ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival returns to showcase the unique contributions of people who live with disabilities on the big screen.

On February 17 through 20, 13 short and feature-length films will be shown at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 & RPX. These narrative/documentary films will feature people with such disabilities as ALS, OCD, autism and even misophonia, a disorder characterized by immense pain and agitation resulting from hearing common, everyday sounds.

There will also be a screening of The Rider, Chloe Zhao’s acclaimed, award-winning film from last year, about a rodeo cowboy who tries to get back in the saddle after a traumatic head injury.

As always, ReelAbilities will showcase more than just film. The festival kicks off on February 12, at The A.D. Players Theater, with ReelPeople: UP Abilities, where a trio of speakers (including Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest) will open a window into the world of disabilities.

On February 13, the Center for Art and Photography at Celebration Company will host the ReelArt exhibition, featuring work by Ezra Roy, a native Houstonian and visual/mixed-media artist who has Down syndrome. (That will run through April 19.)

And on February 21, the fest will end with a ReelMusic jam session, where local, professional musicians perform with artists living with disabilities, at White Oak Music Hall.

Since 2013, this free, ten-day festival continues to be about fostering inclusion, erasing stigmas, changing perceptions and creating pathways to employment. “ReelAbilities is a gift to our city that embraces inclusion, highlights ability, and showcases vast talents available to us right here in Houston,” says Dee Dee Lochen, who co-chairs this year’s festival with Susan Farb Morris.

“We promise that everyone will be touched and enriched by ReelAbilities experiences they may choose throughout the festival’s ten days.”

Adds Farb Morris, “We have been working with our committees, sponsors and collaborating partners for the past several months to create and organize the 2019 festival into another dimension to help enrich Houston’s diverse culture and eliminate barriers to accessibility in the arts, culture, education and employment.”

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ReelAbilities Houston Film & Arts Festival runs February 12 – 21, 2019. For a full list of showtimes and events, visit the official site