As excited as Cinetalk is to discuss the ReelAbilities Film Festival‘s first online incarnation, we wanted to not give away too much, seeing as the films are available online this year. This makes them more accessible to just about anybody with a decent Internet connection, and doesn’t require attending them in person in Toronto.
So if you live in Quebec, Vancouver, the States, or any of our fellow lockdown cities, we can all watch the selection of shorts and full length features together this year.
We’ve decided to preview four films to whet the appetite. Here is a glance at some of our fave picks!
As with last year’s ReelAbilities offerings, Cinetalk gravitates toward those related to artistic expression. From My Side of the Spectrum (Aiden Lee) looks at how an autistic 16-year old expresses his feelings through painting. By incorporating ice, heat, texture and layers, he has produced an impressive array of canvases bursting with vivacity and creativity.
Aiden is loquacious, quick-witted and passionate. It’s hard to believe that as a boy he struggled to express himself. He explains that it felt like being trapped in a glass ball. Stuck, unable to do anything. But when he discovered painting, the medium released him of all his pain and frustration.
The artist doesn’t want to be “cured” or “fixed”. When society tries to homogenize people with disabilities or differences, Aiden says we are losing our specialties, personalities and passions. He is visibly emotional when expressing this to the camera. His project Art from the Heart was created to remind young people how important art can be. He wishes more people would throw their emotions onto a canvas instead of at each other. Have a peek at aidenlee.net to see what he is currently working on!
The Witch Hunters (Raško Miljković) is suitable for family viewing. It tells the story of a young boy with Cerebral Palsy and a big imagination. He and his new buddy go on a hunt to fight a Witch. Miljković portrays children as creators of their own world, where adults are humorously viewed as “old”. Watch the duo find their inner superhero in this imaginative allegory to growing up.
Sock Guys (Katie Turinski) is an uplifting documentary about a father-and-son business. John has Down Syndrome. But like most of his work colleagues, his disability does not hinder his job. All he cares about is spreading happiness. Through socks. Baby sock, manly socks, stripey socks, funny socks; these guys have shelves upon shelves of foot coverings.
5% of profits go to the Special Olympics. With social media, speaking engagements, and a message, they feel they can connect with a large array of people. A business these days, can’t just sell things, says Dad. John would like to show the world that people with Down Syndrome are ready, willing and able to work.
A Provocation on Wheels (Olya Glotka) is a choreography between two chairs, and two humans. Beyond gender and ability, it is like a mating call, or a gentle courtship before two entities fall into each others’ space. The short performance piece navigates between safety and risk. Inside and outside. In control or controlled by. Human and environment. And let’s go ahead and say it – social distancing. Though it was probably not the intent, the artists have hit on a subject matter that couldn’t be more relevant in 2020.
ReelAbilities Film Festival – May 20th – May 24th, 2020 – online, worldwide.