While Sandro Forte was still in Krakow, we’ve been holding down the fort a bit closer to home. The international ReelAbilities Film Festival begins today in Toronto. It includes films by and about the Deaf and disabled community, and sheds some light on less-oft discussed cinematic topics. It’s unfortunate in this day and age that disability is still so shrouded. The selection at this year’s festival is not only informative, but also shows real people with real disabilities, living their real lives – especially within the arts community.

Whether a person has a physical disability, struggles with cognitive issues or anything in between, it does not prevent them from expressing themselves through various forms of art. Bubbly Mara Clawson makes colorful pastel portraits in Living Art (directed by David Rochkind), while teenager Jarell uses hip-hop dance to express himself in Jmaxx and the Universal Language (directed by Ryan Mayers). Though the festival will attract viewers with disabilities, it should really be taken in by those who are so-called “able”. It could be very eye-opening to learn how to better interact with an autistic adult, or to care for a loved one who suddenly becomes disabled for one reason or another. We are all just human. We all try to express ourselves, and need to find ways to coexist without belittling, ignoring or alienating those who have their own special way of doing it. Art isn’t only therapy for some. It is a way of life. It is the mouthpiece and an extension of the Self.


Along with the films, the festival offers performances and workshops. One particular Montrealer will be leading a dance workshop. The name Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli may ring a bell for some locals. His workshop will be held on May 28th.

All venues are wheelchair accessible.

All films will include captions or subtitles.

Select screenings will have ASL interpreters.

Service animals are welcome, and support companions get in for free!


Stay tuned for Cinetalk’s coverage, starting this weekend!

ReelAbilities Film Festival – May 24th – June 2nd, 2019 – Toronto, Canada.