April 20, 2024
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April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Kaplen JCC on the Palisades Presents Reel Abilities

As a member of the “REEL Abilities, NJ” consortium, the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades will present a five-day film festival featuring award-winning feature films and shorts by and about people with disabilities. The umbrella organization, REEL Abilities, is the largest film festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation for the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities. The films are intended for all audiences and designed bring the community together to discuss and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Reel Abilities was founded in New York in 2007 in the Jewish community and expanded into an international film festival through partnerships with educational, cultural and advocacy organizations. The films seek to present universal stories about the human life experience that anyone from anywhere who has struggled to meet life’s challenges can relate to. In addition, they also provide a meaningful platform for bringing communities together to discuss the themes presented in the films. The mission is to create an inclusive community.

“We are so proud to be a member of REEL Abilities, NJ and a select venue to present this film festival,” says Special Services Director Shelley Levy. “All of these incredible films are a celebration of the life we all share, and each person’s story is a glimpse into how people throughout the world see themselves. As a viewer, watching moments of their daily lives unwind, we ask ourselves important questions about our own self-acceptance, and we come away with a whole new appreciation for all our lives and how we come to find our place in the world. Each and every one of these films is a testament to personal perseverance and we are eager to share these stories with our community.”

Film screenings for this five day event, which can be attended individually or as a series, is as follows:

Praying With Lior

Sunday, November 16, 7:00 pm

This tender and wrenching film introduces Lior, a boy with Down syndrome, who has spent his entire life praying with utter abandon. As he approaches Bar Mitzvah, different characters provide a window into life spent “praying with Lior,” posing difficult questions such as what is “disability” and who really talks to God?

It’s All About Friends

Monday, November 17, 7:00 pm

The beloved characters from The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes return! When the group decides to shoot a film about their lives, Peter calls his old friend Max, a successful yet lonely NYC-based cinematographer. When Max arrives, he realizes that the documentary he has promised to shoot is about people with disabilities, forcing him to confront his own prejudices.

Mary & Max

Tue, November 18, 7:00 pm

This claymated feature film from Academy Award-winning animators tells the tale of pen-friendship between two very different people: Mary Dinkle, a chubby lonely eight-year-old girl from Melbourne and Max Horovitz, a 44-year-old obese, Jewish man with Asperger’s Syndrome living in New York. Spanning 20 years and two continents, Mary and Max’s friendship survives much more than the average diet of life’s ups and downs.

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Wed, November 19, 7:00 pm

13-year old Ricky lives in Rockaway Beach with his sister and mother, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Ricky, who has autism, is deeply imaginative but painfully isolated and struggles with the day to day. While his mother watches in helpless frustration, Ricky’s difficulties continue to separate him from the world around him. One day, after Ricky’s sister leaves him to get home from school by himself, he escapes in a panic into the NYC subway system. His family struggles to find him, both coming together and falling apart. The film captures Ricky’s solitude in the crowded sea of New York, as well as his family’s daily struggles to create an accommodating world for Ricky.

AKA Doc Pomus

Thurs, November 20, 2:00 pm

Paralyzed by polio as a child, Jerome Felder renamed himself Doc Pomus, reinventing himself first as a blues singer and then as one of America’s popular songwriters of great classics like “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “This Magic Moment” and “Viva Las Vegas.” AKA Doc Pomus brings to life Doc’s joyous, romantic and extraordinarily eventful journey.

Reel Encounters/
Do You Believe in Love?

Thurs, November 20, 7:00 pm

Even though Tova does not believe in love, she has had remarkable success as a matchmaker. And so, people flock to her apartment where her husband, housekeeper and daughter weigh in as she divines matches. Tova, who is paralyzed because of muscular dystrophy, specializes in finding matches for people with disabilities. Her tough-love approach leads to a unique matchmaking style, but her passion for her work and her clients is undeniable.

There is no admission charge for viewing the films, however a donation of $5.00 is appreciated. Students free with ID. Continuing Education credits available. Contact Shelley Levy at 201.408.1489 or [email protected] for more information.

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades strives to be an inclusive community. If you require special accommodations to attend a ReelAbilities screening at the JCC please contact Shelley Levy ONE WEEK PRIOR to the screening to discuss any accommodations you may need.

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