Film Reels

ReelAbilities

ReelAbilities programs have been presented in multiple locations across New Jersey since 2014. In 2017, the Office of Education and Community Outreach in the College of the Arts at Montclair State University, in partnership with Kean University, and JCC MetroWest, expanded the reach of ReelAbilities programming in Northern New Jersey. This initiative was made possible by a generous grant from Kessler Foundation. Montclair State University has since served as the lead location for ReelAbilities New Jersey with additional film screenings and ReelAbilities programming offered at Kean University and JCC MetroWest. Through the years, the ReelAbilities Film Festival | New Jersey has expanded further to include film screenings and special events at Montclair State University, Rutgers University, St. Peter’s University, The College of New Jersey, Kean Stage, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair Film, JCC MetroWest, JCC Middlesex, JCC Bridgewater,  and Newark Arts.

ReelAbilities NJ partner logos

ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the US dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.

Founded in NY in 2007, the festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout each hosting city. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

This year’s events include:

2022-2023 Events

August 24 (6:00pm): Screening of CODA 

A seated young woman with a grey hoodie and a purple cap

As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music by wanting to go to Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Every family has its own language.

DIRECTOR: Sian Heder
PRODUCER: Fabrice Gianfermi, Philippe Rousselet, Jérôme Seydoux, Patrick Wachsberger
CAST: Emilia Jones, Tony Kotsur, Marlee Matlin
COUNTRY: USA
RUNTIME: 111 min


September  22-25: Prince Hamlet (Co-sponsored by ReelAbilities NJ and Kessler Foundation)

See details and get tickets (Use promo code RANJ2022 for 20% discount)

Prince Hamlet actors preforming on stage

Performed in the spoken word and American Sign Language. Remixed, reimagined, and bilingual Prince Hamlet features a cross-cultural, gender-bent cast – challenging traditional ideas of who can tell this story.  Interweaving Shakespeare’s spoken text with heightened and poetic American Sign Language, this physical theatre production creates a visually stunning retelling for both hearing and Deaf audiences.


Wednesday,  September 28 (6:00-8:00pm): Screening of We Hear You (Documentary) and Talkback with Shari Eberts and Holly Cohen

See details and reserve your seat here.

We Hear You documentary logo

We Hear You is a groundbreaking documentary about hearing loss, the invisible disability that impacts 430 million people worldwide, including 48 million in the United States alone. By shining a light on the hearing loss experience, it strives to build awareness, community and a more inclusive world for all.

Join the talkback with Shari Eberts and Holly Cohen (executive producers of the documentary) and Maryrose McInerney (faculty in Communication Sciences and Disorders). The discussion will be moderated by Christine Lemesianou, Associate Dean in the College of the Arts.

Shari Eberts

Shari Eberts is a passionate hearing health advocate and internationally recognized author and speaker on hearing loss issues. She is the founder of Living with Hearing Loss, a popular blog and online community for people with hearing loss, and an executive producer of We Hear You, an award-winning documentary about the hearing loss experience. Her book, Hear & Beyond: Live Skillfully with Hearing Loss, (co-authored with Gael Hannan) is the ultimate survival guide to living well with hearing loss. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, she will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Connect with Shari: BlogFacebookLinkedInTwitter.

Holly Cohen

Holly Cohen is a nationally-recognized hearing health advocate and speaker who was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss in her 20’s. Drawing on her experiences as Past President of the Hearing Loss Association of America – New York City Chapter (HLAA-NYC), CEO of a small business, and over 25 years as a professional career coach, Holly is committed to empowering others to advocate for their hearing needs. She is an executive producer of the award-winning documentary about living with hearing loss, We Hear You. Holly serves on the Boards of HLAA-NYC chapter and TDF (Theatre Development Fund).  https://www.linkedin.com/in/hollycohen/


Tuesday, November 15 (6:30-8:00pm): Screening of As We See It and Talkback with Jason Katims (creator, showrunner and executive producer of the series)

See details and reserve your seat here.

TV Series As We See It Actors

The series follows Jack, Harrison, and Violet, 20-something roommates on the autism spectrum, as they strive to get a job, keep a job, make friends, fall in love and navigate a world that eludes them. With the help of their families, aide, and sometimes even each other, these roommates experience setbacks and celebrate triumphs on their own unique journeys towards independence and acceptance.


Tuesday, December 6 (6:30-8:00pm): Screening of Addicted to Life (Documentary) and Live Talkback with Filmmaker Pola Rappaport

See details and reserve your seat here.

Documentary poster featuring Marieke Vervoort, Belgian Paralympic champion

Strong-willed, funny, and charismatic, at 37, Belgian Paralympic champion Marieke Vervoort’s time is running out. A debilitating illness she has had for more than 20 years has begun to take its toll. As Marieke’s strength falters and her body begins to fail, she decides to take control by signing papers to request medical aid-in-dying, a controversial procedure that is forbidden by law in most other countries. Liberated and empowered by now having the legal permission to end her life, Marieke again discovers the freedom and thrill of living and of competition. Throughout, Marieke draws people to her: fans, girlfriends, celebrities, and other people with disabilities. ADDICTED TO LIFE  intimately documents this determined, vulnerable, and astonishing athlete through the dramatic events of her final inspirational three years, during which Marieke’s acceptance of death becomes an affirmation of life. Marieke demystifies one of the most controversial issues of our time.


2021-2022 Events

Tuesday, August 31 (6:30-8:00pm): Screening of Best Summer Ever

See details and reserve your seat here.

Movie poster with actors

Tuesday, September 28 (6:15-8:30pm): Screening of Deaf Jam

See details and reserve your seat here.

Documentary Poster with Actor

Tuesday, October 19 (6:15-8:30pm): Virtual screening of Behind the Scenes of On Display mini-documentary as well as “Conversations With… ” Elaine Katz and Heidi Latsky about the making of On Display. See details and register here.

On Display Screenshot

Tuesday, November 9 (6:15-8:30pm): Virtual pre-screening of Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution as well as “Conversations with …. ” Directors James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham. See details and register here.

Crip Camp screenshot

March 11- March 17 (8:00pm): CODA (Co-Sponsored by Montclair Film and ReelAbilities NJ)

Get your tickets now!

A seated young woman with a grey hoodie and a purple cap

As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music by wanting to go to Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents. Every family has its own language.

DIRECTOR: Sian Heder
PRODUCER: Fabrice Gianfermi, Philippe Rousselet, Jérôme Seydoux, Patrick Wachsberger
CAST: Emilia Jones, Tony Kotsur, Marlee Matlin
COUNTRY: USA
RUNTIME: 111 min

Wednesday, April 13 (6:00-7:30pm): Disability – No Laughing Matter (Featuring Steve Way, Comedian and Disability Activist)

Reserve your seat today.

A young male with light skin using a wheelchair and wearing a blue shirt, a red tie, and sunglasses. Behind him, there is a tan wall. 


2020 NJ events


2019 NJ events


2018 NJ events


visit newjersey.reelabilities.org to learn more