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Reelabilities film festival featured in Globe

A recent Boston Globe article highlights Reelabilities: Boston Disabilities Film Festival, which will have its opening night at Emerson.

Little World, a documentary about a 19-year-old cancer survivor who travels the world in his wheelchair, will be screened in Emerson’s Bright Family Screening Room in the Paramount Center on Monday, February 23, at 6:30 pm, where refreshments will be served.

There will be two speakers at the Emerson screening: Jason Harris and Richard Bernstein, a blind man who was recently appointed as a Supreme Court Justice in Michigan.

Emerson has arranged to offer audio description, a form of adaptive technology to support audience members with visual disabilities, at the Reelabilities screening.

Tickets are free to Emerson students, faculty, and staff with a College identification card and are $10 for the general public.

The festival will be held at several different venues around Boston February 19–March 2.

“An important part of the work we do at Emerson is fostering an inclusive environment,” said Rob Sabal, interim dean of the School of the Arts. “This includes creating important opportunities for the community to engage in dialogue with one another, while also turning the spotlight to an area of the industry that demands greater attention.”

Harris and Bernstein’s stop at Emerson is one of many engagements on their Visible/Invisible Disabilities speaking tour, which shares the message of awareness and empathy not only for apparent physical disabilities, but also for hidden disabilities such as hearing loss, autism, and mental health.

ReelAbilities is the nation’s largest film festival dedicated to showcasing award-winning films that, according to festival organizers, promote “awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.” ReelAbilities now tours the country in more than a dozen cities, from Boston to the Bay Area.

“Everyone has a story to tell,” said Brooke Knight, chair of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson. “As President Lee Pelton has said before, we learn from the people who are different from us, not from people who are the same as us. It’s incredibly valuable for students and the greater community to have access to stories by and about people with varying abilities.”

The event is sponsored by the School of the Arts, the Office of Student Accessibility Services, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Emerson Peace and Social Justice.