A blind state supreme court justice. A deaf teen girl who word slams in sign language. An inner-city schools basketball coach born without fully-formed arms. A double hand amputee meets the love of his life who doesn’t see his disability.
These stories and more were told at a film festival celebrating the lives and art of people with disabilities (PWD), the ReelAbilities Film Festival held March 9 – 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
More than 10,000 people attended the Hollywood-style film extravaganza showcasing dozens of moving and thought-provoking documentaries, features and shorts about people living and achieving with disabilities.
The festival featured appearances by more than a dozen celebrities who live with varying disabilities including:
- RJ Mitte, best known for his role as Walter “Flynn” White, Jr. on the award-winning TV thriller, “Breaking Bad;”
- Ali Stroker – known for her role in “Glee,” and as the first Broadway actress in a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage.
- Jamie Brewer – known for her role as Adelaide ‘Addie” Lagdon in “American Horror Story,” and as the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week.
- Lauren Potter – best known as Becky Jackson in the popular television show, “Glee.”
- Nic Novicki – standup comedian known for his recurring role on “Boardwalk Empire.”
- Kurt Yaeger, a fan favorite on “Sons of Anarchy,” and a recurring role actor on “NCIS: Los Angeles;”
- John Lawson, A television, film and commercial actor with past roles in the long running television crime dramas, “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: SVU” and “FX AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW.”
The festival presents real-life stories that are inspiring and de-stigmatizing with the goal of transforming perceptions around people living with disabilities. The Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival made its debut in 2013.