ReelAbilities Film Festival Selections Examine Beauty And Strength


From October 22nd through October 29th, the FISA Foundation and JFilm will co-present the third annual ReelAbilities Film Festival, which will showcase narrative and documentary works about the lives, stories, and artistic expression of people with different disabilities. See schedule and details below:

October 22nd

7 p.m.

On Beauty (2015, USA/Kenya, English and Kikuyu, 32 minutes)


On Beauty follows former fashion photographer Rick Guidotti, who after 15 years of working for clients such as Yves Saint Laurent, Elle, and Harpers Bazaar, grew tired of seeing the same ideal of beauty “spit up at us constantly.” In a moment of serendipity, Rick walked by a young woman with Albinism (a genetic condition that results in loss of pigmentation in the hair and eyes) at a New York City bus stop, and wondered why she wasn’t considered beautiful in his other world. This exploration resulted in a show-stopping magazine spread for Life Magazine.

Screening followed by a conversation with Guidotti.

October 24th

7 p.m.

The Case of the Three-Sided Dream (2014, USA, English, 88 minutes)


Jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk was known for playing multiple instruments at once and for his comical and political interjections on stage, creating music about his experience of becoming blind as an infant. Through communicating sonically with his surroundings, Kirk developed a unique ability to see in music, as everyday items were re-imagined as instruments and each seemingly insignificant noise revealed its own rhythm and cadence. A child prodigy, adult visionary, and political activist, Kirk played music until the day he died.

Screening followed by a jazz concert with Roger Humphries, who played with Kirk in the 1970s.

October 26th

7 p.m.

Mimi and Dona (2014, USA, English, 66 minutes)


For 64 years, 92-year-old Mimi has cared for her daughter Dona, who has an intellectual disability. This poignant, heartbreaking and, at times, humorous documentary traces the process of Mimi grappling with the notion that she will not outlive her daughter. The film spotlights the challenges of aging caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and details the ripple effects it has on three generations of a Texas family.

Screening followed by a conversation with director Sophie Sartain and United Way of Allegheny County President and Chief Professional Officer, Bob Nelkin. Sponsored by the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

October 28th

7 p.m.

Gabriel (2014, USA, English, 89 minutes)


Rory Culkin delivers an electrifying performance as Gabriel, a vulnerable and confused teenager longing for stability and happiness amidst an ongoing struggle with mental illness. Convinced that reuniting with his old girlfriend holds the answer to all his troubles, Gabriel risks it all in a desperate and increasingly obsessive pursuit, testing the limits of his compassionate family as his inner demons begin to close in around him.

Screening followed by a conversation with director Lou Howe, Dr. Ken Thompson, self-advocate Lee Moses, and Pittsburgh Police officer Krista Hoebel. Sponsored by the Staunton Farm Foundation.

October 29th

7 p.m.

The Finishers (2013, France/Belgium, French, 90 minutes)


At 17 years old, Julien has a great sense of humor, loads of charm, and cerebral palsy. In a bid to bond, Julien challenges his father to participate with him in the Ironman race, a triathlon in which his father has previously competed. Doing the race alone is an incredible challenge, but completing it together with Julien would be nearly impossible. Still, his father agrees and the two set out to train for and compete in one of the most intense races on earth.

Screening followed by a conversation with 2014 Paralympic Gold Medalist Dan McCoy and his father, Mark.

All screenings will take place at Rodef Shalom Congregation and include receptions offering treats with vegan, Kosher, and gluten-free options. An art exhibit featuring work by Guidotti and Pulitzer prize-winning photographer Martha Rial will also be displayed in the Rodef Shalom commons area during the festival. Tickets are available for purchase on the JFilm website or at the door.


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