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Give Me Liberty to Open ReelAbilities

Give Me Liberty to Open ReelAbilities, image,
Still image from Give Me Liberty courtesy of ReelAbilities Film Festival.

Give Me Liberty to Open ReelAbilities
by Staff Editors

(May 4, 2021 – Toronto, ON) Organizers behind the ReelAbilities Film Festival have announced the programming for the 6th Annual Festival, which will take place online from May 18 to 30. ReelAbilities showcases Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf. ReelEducation Matinees will take place May 18-21, followed by the ReelAbilities Film Festival and Comedy Night May 26-30, 2021.

The 2021 festival will include online presentations of 15 films including the Opening Night screening of Give Me Liberty (pictured above), directed by Kyrill Mikhanovsky, on May 26. In the film, influencer and disability activist Lauren “Lolo” Spencer makes a vibrant screen debut in this humane dramatic comedy about a perpetually late medical transport driver steering a bus that’s effectively a microcosm of American society. The film follows Vic (Chris Galust) as he navigates between the caregiving needs of his Russian grandfather and his friends, en route to a funeral, and his responsibilities toward his passengers, including an outspoken young social worker with ALS (Spencer), while all roads in downtown Milwaukee divert from a Black Lives Matter protest. It’s an equally tense and uproarious experience, in the tradition of After Hours and Uncut Gems.

The Closing Night screening on May 30 is the Youth Shorts Program featuring six short films from around the world, including three Canadian films: #HospitalChic by Ophira Calof, Fluid by Mari “Dev” Ramsawakh, and Endomic by Camille Hollet-French and Ipek Ensari.

Feature film programming at ReelAbilities offers strong points of view and unique perspectives from around the world with films including: the acclaimed documentary feature The Reason I Jump; the Venezuelan narrative feature The Special, which follows Chuo navigating the challenges of early adulthood with Down Syndrome as he seeks to build a life of independence; the documentary feature from Mexico Maricarmen, which follows blind cello player, music teacher, writer, and marathon runner Maricarmen Graue; and the Canadian doc feature The World is Bright, directed by Ying Wang. This 110-minute documentary in English and Mandarin follows the epic 10-year journey of a Chinese couple searching for the truth behind their son’s death in Canada. What starts as a murder mystery becomes something else entirely. The film is a rare revelation of immigration, mental health and a Kafkaesque state bureaucracy at the heart of global migration.

ReelAbilities Film Festival will also include workshops, filmmaker Q&As, and post-screening panels and events where audiences are invited to hear more from Festival filmmakers, creators, and artists.

The ReelAbilities Comedy Night returns May 27 with a wide range of comedic mediums from Toronto and Ottawa. ReelAbilities Comedy Night will feature a mixture of live and filmed content from hilarious comedians including Desiree Walsh, Avan Porte, 2 CPOs – Tim Rose and Sivert Das, Velvet Wells, Krystal Nausbaum, Rosani Christy, Michael McNeely, Dan Barra-Berger, and Therese Estacion. ReelAbilities Comedy Night will be followed by an online community after party.

ReelEducation will feature online matinees and workshops for grades K-12 with ten short films May 18-21, including two French films. From sledge hockey to musical theatre, ReelEducation offers exciting at-home workshops for all ages.

ReelAbilities Film Festival was established in New York in 2007. In 2016, it crossed the border into Canada as ReelAbilities Film Festival: Toronto, making it the first international chapter of the Festival.

Click here and look for a link to the ReelAbilities Film Festival on our May Film Festivals page.

SOURCE: ReelAbilities Film Festival