Our Mission:

ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. Initiated at the JCC in Manhattan, 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. In 2014, the JCC in Manhattan collaborated with the Cincinnati-based agency, Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD, Inc), to operate the National program of the film festival, enabling us to focus more resources and provide more support to festivals around the country.

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Who We Are

Anita Altman, Festival Founder
Deputy Managing Director, Department of Government and External Affairs of UJA-Federation, and founder of its Task Force on People with Disabilities. Anita has helped to expand and transform programming for people with disabilities, who are served by the UJA-Federation network of agencies. Her hope is that this film festival will help raise the consciousness of the New York community about our common humanity and the value of each person, without regard to his or her ability or disability.

Isaac Zablocki, Festival Director
Isaac Zablocki is the Director of the Israel Film Center at the JCC in Manhattan. He was born in New York, and grew up in Israel. He attended film school at Columbia University and went on to work at Miramax films. Isaac is Director of Film Programs at the JCC in Manhattan and is one of the leading presenters of Jewish and Israeli films in America. He programs over seven film festivals a year including The Other Israel Film Festival and ReelAbilites: NY Disabilities Film Festival. Isaac also teaches film in various institutions.

Ravit Turjeman, Festival Co-director & National Festival Coordinator
Founder and Managing Director of Dragoman Films, a NYC-based boutique distribution company, specializing in marketing of Israeli Cinema in North America. Ravit also serves as director and programmer of numerous film festivals in the Tri-State area, among them The Other Israel Film Festival, and NY Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.With the support of the Saul Scohttenstein Foundation B, Ravit works to bring ReelAbilities to communities throughout the country.

Ariana Cohen-Halberstam, Outreach and Festival Coordinator
Associate Director of Film Programs at the Israel Film Center at The JCC in Manhattan. Ariana studied Film Theory and has worked in film and television industry in various capacities for years - most recently as an editor.

Christa Zielke, National Field Director
Christa served as the Co-Director of the ReelAbilities: Cincinnati festival in 2012-13. With past experience working in community media (formerly the Development Director for Media Bridges in Cinncinnati), disability advocacy (as the Marketing Director for a studio and gallery representing artists with disabilities), and fundraising/development, Christa moved into the role of National Field Director for the National festival program in March of 2014, taking the position as part of the collaboration between the JCC in Manhattan and LADD, Inc.

Reelabilities is made possible by support from the JE and ZB Butler Foundation, FJC, A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, The Stanley H. and Rita J. Kaplan Fund of UJA-Federation, Harry S. Black & Allon Fuller Fund, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for The Arts, and The Saul Schottenstein Foundation B.

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Festival Committees

Film Selection Committee

  • Anita Altman, UJA-Federation of New York
  • Lynn Bartner-Wiesel, LMT, Mommy, Wife & JCC Volunteer
  • Ariana Cohen-Halberstam, The JCC in Manhattan
  • Pat Goldman, J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation
  • Anita Hollander, Independent Artist, Chair SAG, AFTRA & Performers with Disabilities
  • Danielle Sheypuk
  • Ravit Turjeman, Dragoman Films
  • Isaac Zablocki, The JCC in Manhattan

Advisory Committee

  • Hannah Cohen, Coordinator of Special Needs Parenting Programs, The JCC in Manhattan
  • Shirley Silver, Board Member, The JCC in Manhattan
  • Mayer Waxman, National Association of Chevra Kadisha
  • Sharon Shapiro, Founding Director, Yad HaChazakah-JDEC
  • Gary Springer, Founder & Director, SPRINGER ASSOCIATES PR
  • Matt Kaplowitz, Bridge Multimedia
  • Daniele Favre-Panayotatos, Director of Development, Alpine Learning Group, Inc.
  • Sean Cruse, Ph.D, Communications & Research, United Nations Global Compact
  • Faye Ginsburg, Council for the Study of Disability, New York University
  • Fran Prezant, M.Ed. CCC, Disability Consultant, Researcher , Author
  • Ken Struve, Executive Director,City Access New York
  • Leslie Epstein Pearson, Director, Learning Resource Network/JBFCS
  • Victor Calise, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Alexis Kashar, President, Jewish Deaf Resource Center (JDRC)
  • Dr. Sam Grogg, Dean, Arts and Sciences, Adelphi University
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    Submit a Film

    The film selection for The Sixth Annual ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival is completed. If you wish to submit your film for the 8th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, to take place in 2016, please click here to fill out the online submission form. The submission deadline is November 1, 2015.
    The festival is looking for films by and about people with disabilities that explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.  Films that have been widely/commercially released in NY prior to March 2015 are not eligible for submission.  Screeners in DVD format, along with a signed submission form should be mailed to: ReelAbilities Film Festival 334 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10023 (646) 505-5738

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    Volunteering for ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival is a terrific way to get involved in this exciting initiative from its first stages! The commitment and generosity of our volunteers is the foundation that makes our festival a great success. Please join us to make this festival shine!

    Volunteering at our festival is hard work, but also lots of fun! Meet filmmakers from around the world, interact with our engaged audience and watch great movies!

    What do ReelAbilities Film Festival volunteers do?

    Volunteers help the festival by working in theater operations during festival screenings, serving as special events support for pre- and post-festival parties and assisting with pre-festival office support.

    How to Volunteer:

    If you would like to volunteer please contact the ReelAbilities Program Associate, Ariana Cohen-Halberstam at ahalberstam@jccnyc.org with your resume attached, or fax it to: (212) 799-0254. In a cover letter, please indicate your preferred location (one of the eight counties in which the festival is presented — Long Island, Queens, Roosevelt Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bronx, Westchester), and your availability (weekdays, weekends, daytime, anytime).

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    Contact Us

    Reelabilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival
    334 Amsterdam Avenue
    New York, NY 10023
    877-505-6708 - TTY

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    The JCC in Manhattan Presented by The JCC in Manhattan