‘ReelAbilities’ highlights stories of those with different ‘abilities’ |

‘ReelAbilities’ highlights stories of those with different ‘abilities’

Mary Pickels

The sixth annual ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival , showcasing films about the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people living with different abilities, will be screened Oct. 3-9 at SouthSide Works Cinema.

Presented by Film Pittsburgh, the festival includes four international feature-length films, two short film programs, and a pop-up art exhibit in collaboration with Creative Citizen Studios.

Special guests include award-winning Irish director Nick Kelly and disability rights activist Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, among others, a news release notes.

The film schedule includes “The Drummer and the Keeper,” 7 p.m. Oct. 3, featuring a young rock drummer desperate to hide his recent bipolar diagnosis from his band mates. When his therapist orders him to participate in a mixed-ability football game, he meets Christopher, an institutionalized 17-year-old with Asperger syndrome who yearns to find a purpose. (Suggested for ages 16 and up)

• Oct. 4, 7 p.m., “Shorts Program 1,” six short documentary and narrative films exploring the lives of people living with different abilities. (Suggested for ages 13 and up)

• Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., “Mind Over Matter,” Brandon Mendenhall was born with cerebral palsy but that doesn’t stop him from
pursuing his goal of becoming a rock guitarist. Overcoming a paralyzed left hand, bullies and stereotypes, his dream becomes reality as he leads his own band, inspired by the band Korn, to express himself through music. (Suggested for ages 16 and up)

• Oct. 6, 1 p.m., “Hero Steps,” a survivor of Columbia’s decades-long armed conflict, 10-year-old Eduardo has his share of challenges — including the loss of his leg. After his impoverished parents leave him at a children’s home, he secretly enlists the other children to help him achieve his dream: to compete in a soccer tournament. (Appropriate for all ages)

• Oct. 8, 6:30 p.m., “Shorts Program 2,” all ages, six short documentary and narrative films highlighting the experiences of children and young adults with different abilities.

• Oct. 9, 7 p.m., “Intelligent Lives” follows three pioneering young adults with intellectual
disabilities as they fight to reframe perceptions of intelligence. Academy Award-winning actor Chris Cooper (“American Beauty”), contextualizes their experiences through the emotional personal story of his own son. (Suggested for ages 13 and up)

Pop-up art exhibit “Bird In Hand” features printmaking works by artists-in-residence at Creative Citizen Studios , a local organization that seeks to build bridges between the arts and disabilities communities. This body of work was made in partnership with the Artist Image Resources printmaking studio, the National Aviary and Creative Citizen artists. All the work is inspired by visits to the Aviary and is made by talented artists with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Exhibit space hours are: 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 3; 4-10:30 p.m. Oct. 4; 6-11 p.m. Oct. 5;
11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6; 5-
9:30 p.m. Oct. 8; and 4-10 p.m.
Oct. 9, all at 441 Cinema Drive.


Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaryPickels.

‘Hero Steps’ is the story of Eduardo, 10, a survivor of Columbia’s decades-long armed conflict who, despite the loss of a leg, is determined to compete in a soccer tournament. The film will be screened Oct. 6 at SouthSide Works Cinema as part of ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival.
‘Intelligent Lives’ follows three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities as they fight to reframe perceptions of intelligence. The film will premiere on Oct. 9 as part of ReelAbilities Pittsburgh Film Festival. The event will be followed by a Q&A with three Special Olympics athletes and reception at the art exhibit space, 441 Cinema Drive, near SouthSide Works Cinema.
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