Schedule of Events
Admission: FREE! Space is limited. Advance Registration Required. All films at Edwards are audio described.
ReelArt: The exhibition, one of few in the country, will take place from February 12 and run through the duration of the festival 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. Brandon Lack is a talented artist from Austin who has Down syndrome and specializes in using vibrant colors to paint landscapes and architecture. His career began when he was just old enough to make marks on a page and his development of self-soothing art has been effective for him and an inspiration for others. A preview of the ReelArt exhibit and meet-and-greet with Lack and other Celebration Company artists will take place from 6-8pm.
6:00 - 8:00 pm: Exhibition preview, meet and greet the artists
4131 S. Braeswood Blvd.
Houston, TX 77025
ReelPeople: UP Abilities:
This event, a partnership with The UP Experience, is the official kickoff of the festival, and opens the festival on February 15 with presentations from extraordinary thought leaders on mental and physical disabilities and topics of inclusion. After the speakers' presentations, attendees can attend smaller Q&A sessions with the speaker of their choice.
Full speakers lineup is as follows:
- Mandy Harvey
Mandy Harvey is an American singer-songwriter who is deaf and a 2017 finalist on "America's Got Talent." She is a spokesperson for No Barriers USA and Invisible Disabilities Association and travels the country to heighten awareness, break down barriers and challenge stereotypes.
- Caroline Casey
Caroline Casey, an award-winning serial social entrepreneur, is both an adventurer and business woman based in Dublin. The subject of the National Geographic documentary "Elephant Vision," she recently completed a 1,000-kilometer journey on horseback to raise awareness for #valuable campaign, her global effort to bring inclusion to the workplace.
- Joseph "JB" Benshimen
Joseph Bensmihen, born with cerebral palsy, became a self-advocate at the age six when he met with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. By age 11 he was the first disabled Canadian student to ever be mainstreamed in a public school. As an adult, JB has been a highly successful business owner, an advisor to many members of Congress and a strong advocate for people with disabilities.
February 18 - 22:
ReelAbilities Film Festival:
The 2018 festival will screen 14 films beginning February 18 through February 22 at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24. Each 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:
- Evening Feature: Full Length (Evening film begins at 7:00 PM)
In this touching film, parents of one boy with autism from New Jersey form a competitive swim team, recruiting a diverse group of teens on the autism spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity.
Director: Director Laura Stolman, 100 min, USA, English
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.
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.