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Download 2019 Brochure Download Text-only 2019 Brochure Friend of the Festival Schedule of Events

February 13
ReelPeople: UP Abilities
February 12
February 17-20
February 21
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Schedule of Events

Admission to all film and arts events is FREE! Tickets for UP Abilities are $18. Advance registration required. All films at Edwards are audio described and captioned.

click here for a text only version of the Schedule of Events

  • February 12:

    ReelPeople: UP Abilities

    This event, a partnership with The UP Experience, features presentations from three extraordinary speakers that will open a window into the world of disabilities with both intimacy and urgency. After the speakers' presentations, attendees can attend smaller Q&A sessions with the speaker of their choice.

    A full speaker lineup is coming soon.

    6:15 PM: Doors open
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Event
    A.D. Players Theater
    5420 Westheimer Rd.
    Houston, TX 77056

    Full speaker lineup is as follows:

    • Jen Bricker: Born without legs, one would think Jen Bricker would be destined for a life of hardship. However, her amazing adoptive family gave her one simple rule, "Never say can't" and helped her forge a life of triumph, not tragedy. Always challenging herself, Jen transitioned from a State Champion in power tumbling into an accomplished acrobat, aerialist, speaker and bestselling author.
    • Amanda Boxtel: Amanda Boxtel currently serves as Executive Director for Bridging Bionics Foundation, which aims to bridge human mobility with exoskeletons and bionic technology. She is honored to have been announced as the CNN Heroes Top 10 for 2018. After more than two decades of paralysis and a journey across continents, her pursuit is one of spirit-mind-body transformation. While her spinal cord injury took away her ability to walk, it didn't take away her ability to dream as she continues to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.
    • Erik Weihenmayer: Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest and has since completed his quest to climb all the Seven Summits - the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. Erik founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers and contribute to the world.

  • February 13:


    The exhibition will take place from February 13 and run through April 19 at JFS Houston's Center for Art and Photography at Celebration Company, an entrepreneurial program for adults living with disabilities who create art as an expressive outlet for creativity and as a life skill. The exhibition's visiting artist will be Ezra Roy, a native Houstonian and visual artist who has Down syndrome. Roy specializes in mixed-media pieces, and his work often contains references to African art and Hip Hop culture. A preview of the ReelArt exhibit and meet-and-greet with Roy and other Celebration Company artists will take place from 6 - 8pm.

    Center for Art and Photography at Celebration Company
    4131 S. Braeswood Blvd.
    Houston, TX 77025

  • February 17 - 20:

    ReelAbilities Film Festival:

    The 2019 festival will screen 13 films beginning February 17 through February 20 at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24. Many of the films feature an interactive event to foster dialogue between the audience, the filmmaker, parents, professionals, or persons with disabilities, and to explore the subjects depicted in the film.

    This year's films include:

    February 17:
    • Evening Feature: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
      Far From the Tree
      Based on the NY Times bestselling book by Andrew Solomon, Far from the Tree examines the experiences of families in which parents and children are profoundly different from one another in a variety of ways.
      Director: Rachel Dretzin, 93 min, USA, English
    February 18:
    • Family Friendly Film: 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
      • Perfectly Normal for Me
        At a unique after-school dance program in Queens, kids with a variety of physical and developmental challenges pair with teenage volunteer helpers and create an inclusive environment too often absent in our world.
        Director: Catherine Tambini, 57 min, USA, English
    • Matinee Films: 4:00 - 5:30 PM
      • Mr. Connolly Has ALS
        A beloved high school principal continues to lead, despite rapidly losing his abilities to ALS.
        Director: Dan Habib, 32 min, USA, English
      • Torture by Sound
        An animated exploration of Misophonia, a disorder characterized by immense pain and agitation resulting from hearing common everyday sounds.
        Director: Gwyneth Christoffel, 5 min, Canada, English
      • Unstuck: An OCD Kids Movie
        Children with OCD describe their experience while their families and loved ones yearn for ways to help them.
        Director: Kelly Anderson, 24 min, USA, English
    • Evening Feature: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
      • Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw
        Billed as the "female Michael Jordan," basketball phenom Holdsclaw led Tennessee to three successive championships and became a WNBA number one pick, Rookie-of-the-Year and All Star. But her hidden struggle with mental illness led to personal setbacks and a second career as a vocal mental health advocate.
        Director: Rick Goldsmith, 56 min, USA, English
    February 19:
    • Matinee Films: 4:00 - 5:30 PM
      • Leo & Carol
        Leo, a "vertically challenged" public officer and comedian, is about to marry Carol, a teacher who is 5'5" tall.
        Director: Alvaro Campos & Dafne Capella, 15 min, Brazil, Portuguese
      • Lethe
        Waking after a mysterious car accident, a young amnesiac woman must piece together fragmented memories while running from mysterious pursuers.
        Director: Eric Romero, 20 min, UK, English
      • Just Go!
        Just, who lost both of his legs in an accident, chases the thieves who stole his crush's purse.
        Director: Pavel, 10 min, Latvia, Latvian
    • Evening Feature: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
      • The Milky Pop Kid
        An actor and disability consultant is asked to help a former child star prepare for his triumphant comeback in a likely award-bait role.
        Director: Johanna Garvin, 7 min, Australia, English
      • By Stanley, For Stanley
        Several dozen years apart in age, both Stanislaw and Stas were born without arms. A remarkable artist who uses his feet to paint, draw, eat, and drive, Stanislaw becomes an important mentor to young Stas, a boy still learning to navigate his unique place in the world.
        Director: Monika Melen, 54 min, Poland, Polish
    February 20:
    • Matinee Films: 4:00 - 5:45 PM
      • The Rider
        After a tragic bronco riding accident, young cowboy Brady, once a rising star of the rodeo circuit, is warned that his competition days are over. Back home, Brady, who has suffered a traumatic head injury, finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Based on his own true story, Brady Jandreau stars in the 2018 Gotham Independent Film Award-winning film.
        Director: Chloe Zhao, 105 min, USA, English
    • Evening Feature: 7:00 - 8:30 PM
      • Deej
        DJ Savarese ("Deej") finds comfort in words, as expressed by his poetry belying his high school senior standing. Yet he only “speaks" through a text-to-voice synthesizer. Adopted by a loving and supportive family, Deej navigates the college admissions process as a young adult on the autistic spectrum, while confronting obstacles to inclusion.
        Director: Robert Rooy, 72 min, USA, English
  • February 21:


    A house band comprised of some of Houston's top professional musicians join artists living with disabilities on stage at White Oak Music Hall from 7 - 9:30 p.m.

    6:30 PM: Doors open
    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM: Concert
    White Oak Music Hall
    2915 N Main St.
    Houston, TX 77009

Special Events

  • Ongoing: ReelEducation

    In addition to ReelAbilities' city-wide public events, the festival also brings free programming during the school day to Houston area schools so that the message of inclusion and the importance of arts is being communicated to our city's youth - through film, music, and fine art. Last year, over 7000 elementary, middle and high school students participated. Contact Andie Palagi at for more information.

  • Ongoing: ReelWorkplace

    ReelWorkplace seminars featuring films, speakers, and etiquette workshops about various topics of inclusion are attended by local companies to benefit their hiring managers, staff, and future employees. Contact Laura Alter at for more information.