ReelAbilities Film Festival Features Hollywood Actors with Disabilities

Ali Stroker of "Glee" attend the ReelAbilities Film Festival held March 9 - 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio with "Spring Break Zombie Massacre" stars Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt
Ali Stroker of “Glee” attend the ReelAbilities Film Festival held March 9 – 12 in Cincinnati, Ohio with “Spring Break Zombie Massacre” stars Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt

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.

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Rakesh Raman