Don’t expect any Hollywood endings, but these movies will inspire.
The New York ReelAbilities Film Festival comes to Queens this weekend with a dozen of movies about individuals with disabilities. The screenings will be held in three neighborhoods: Astoria, Flushing and Forest Hills.
The festival begins on Saturday, March 12, at 2:30 p.m. with a locally shot gem, “That Which Is Possible,” at the Museum of the Moving Image. To create this documentary, director Michael Gitlin spent two years following patients who frequent an art space at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village. He contends that getting involved in the creative process is an effective, humane way to treat mental illness.
On the same day at 3 p.m., “The Voice of the Voiceless” will show at the Queens Historical Society. This silent motion picture tells the story of a deaf Mexican woman who is captured and taken to New York City to sell trinkets on the subway and make money for her kidnappers. Then at 5 p.m., the Museum of the Moving Image will project “Happy 40th,” a feature film about three female friends who do some soul-searching during the birthday weekend for a fourth friend, who became a wheelchair-bound hermit after a car crash.
Tickets to individual screenings vary from a donation to $12. As a special treat, six directors of the scheduled pieces will participate in post-film discussions.
The rest of the schedule follows:
- “Margarita with a Straw” is an Indian picture about a wheelchair-using teenager with cerebral palsy. She moves to Manhattan to attend New York University and discovers her sexuality. Museum of the Moving Image, March 13, 2:30 p.m.
- “Patrick’s Day” is a romantic tale about a young man with schizophrenia who falls in love with a suicidal stewardess. Museum of the Moving Image, March 13, 5 p.m.
- “A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt” is a docudrama about a broommaker in Berlin who hid his deaf, Jewish and vision-impaired factory workers from the Nazis during World War II. Queens Historical Society, March 13, 2:30 p.m.
- “Bumblebees” is a short depicting an autistic child who learns how to walk and speak and then tries dating. “Good Beer” is a 7-minute short about a disabled woman who tries online dating. “2E: Twice Exceptional” is a documentary about learning challenges featuring interviews with parents, psychologists, students, teachers and therapists. Central Queens Y, March 13, 2 p.m.
- “Marina’s Ocean” depicts a teenager with Down Syndrome who experiences the sea for the first time. “I Don’t Care” is about a pregnant woman who reacts to news that her baby might have Down Syndrome. “Still Running” is a documentary about Pieter du Preez, the first quadriplegic to finish an Iron Man triathlon. “Take Me” is a Canadian short that follows a nurse who questions his ethics after two patients ask him to help them have sexual relations. “Bumblebees” is also on the schedule. Central Queens Y, March 14, noon.
Above photos courtesy of “Happy 40th” and “Margarita with a Straw”