Film Reels


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.

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ReelAbilities NJ partner logos
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.

Upcoming Events

32 Sounds Screening

November 7, 2023, 6:00 pm

32 Sounds image
Free with RSVP

Location: Alexander Kasser Theater, 1 Normal Ave Hall, Suite 171, Montclair, NJ 07043

This film, “32 Sounds” explores the elemental phenomenon of sound and its power to bend time, cross borders, and profoundly shape our perception of the world around us.

This event is sponsored by the Montclair Film Forum Program and Co-Sponsored by ReelAbilities Film Festival.

For any accessibility needs or requests, please email us at at least 2 weeks prior to the event. If you have specific accessibility questions, please email:

The ReelAbilities NJ – 2023 Film Festival is brought to you by the Office of Education and Community Outreach (OECO) in the College of the Arts at Montclair State University and is made possible by a generous grant from Kessler Foundation.

ReelAbilities Film Festival

March 30, 2023 – April 1, 2023

Kean 2023 ReelAbilities Film Festival collage

ReelAbilities New Jersey celebrates the lives, stories, and artistic abilities of people with all types of disabilities through award-winning short and feature-length films.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival runs from Thursday, March 30, to Saturday, April 1, 2023. Films can either be screened in-person at Kean University or viewed virtually from home.

North Avenue Academic Center [NAAB]
1000 Morris Avenue (at the corner of North Ave.)
Union, NJ 07083

A talkback and Q&A session will follow all screenings.

  • Screening 1: Thursday, March 30 at 6:00 pm
  • Screening 2: Friday, March 31 at 6:00 pm
  • Screening 3: Saturday, April 1 at 11:30 am
  • Screening 4: Saturday, April 1 at 2:30 pm

Please note: The above times are when the auditorium will open to kick off the day’s program. Film screenings will begin 30 minutes after the doors open, and post-screening talkbacks will be approximately 30 minutes. Please plan your arrival and departure times accordingly.

There is a suggested donation of $5 per session.

A donation can be made through the Kean Foundation or in person at the film festival.

Tickets and More Information

Ali Stroker

April 1, 2023

Image of 2019 Tony Award Winner Ali Stroker

Ali Stroker won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as ‘Ado Annie’ in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! She’s a series regular in the Netflix series, Echoes, and she recently starred in the Lifetime holiday film, Christmas Ever After. She made history as the first actor in a wheelchair to appear on Broadway in Deaf West’s acclaimed 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. Ali recurred in the final season of Netflix’s Ozark and is in her second season recurring in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building. She co-wrote the 2021 novel, The Chance to Fly, and she wrote the 2022 children’s book, Ali and the Sea Stars. This past summer, she was featured as ‘Lady Anne’ in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III. She’s performed her cabaret act at New York’s Green Room 42 and solo’ed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, New York’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Carnegie Hall. Her mission to improve the lives of others through the arts is captured in her motto: “Turning Your Limitations Into Your Opportunities.”

Buy Tickets

Past Events

2022 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
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).

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
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. 

2018-2020 Events

2020 NJ events

2019 NJ events

2018 NJ events

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