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Best Summer Ever
Best Summer Ever

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York opens this weekend and announced a selection of exclusive events and speakers to accompany its 13th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival programming.

Highlights include the pilot reading of Disgraced with Julie Klausner (Difficult People), Shannon DeVido (Best Summer Ever, Difficult People), and Alex Scordelis (Difficult People); Opening Night honoree Itzhak Perlman and Closing Night honoree Temple Grandin. Closing night will also feature the subject of the film Not Going Quietly, activist Ady Barkan along with the filmmakers. ReelAbilities will also feature the special LIVE and IN-PERSON Comedy Night at MMJCCM on the Meyerson Family Roof Terrace featuring comedians Maysoon Zayid, Tina Friml, Martin Phillips, and Jenny Cavallero.

Some of the standout panels are: Black Future Month: Legacy, Present & Afro-Futurism on the realities that keep us from the American “dream.” The panel will include Black-disabled filmmakers: Keith Jones, JD Michaels, Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Safiya Eshe Gyasi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Trelanda R. Lowe; as well as Game Changers, a panel discussion including Lauren Ridloff (The Eternals, Sound of Metal), on the shift in the TV and film industries of what it means to tell an authentic story.

The 13th annual festival runs from April 29th through May 5th.

2021 ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York Special Events Schedule

Thursday, April 29, 2021
7:30pm EDT – Opening Night Event at the Queens Drive-In featuring Best Summer Ever. In partnership with Rooftop Films, Museum of the Moving Image, and New York Hall of Science (doors open 6:30pm)

Opening Night Remarks featuring Itzhak Perlman, a performance from Lachi, and more
8:15pm EDT: Film Begins, followed by a Q&A with cast and crew.

Friday, April 30, 2021
6pm EDT – Ahead of the Curve Q+A co-presented by Maysles Documentary Center

Saturday, May 1, 2021
2pm EDT – Short Films 1 Q+A (Single, Verisimilitude, Wiggle Room, How Much Am I Worth?) Co-presented by NYPL.
4pm EDT – Short Films 2 Q+A (David, Dead End Drive, Deafinition, Second Time, I’m so Far, The Secret Life of Tom Lightfoot) Co-presented by NYPL.
6pm EDT – Short Films 3 Q+A (Charon, Coexist, My Layers, Strange, Hal and Minter).
8pm EDT – Crutch Q+A co-presented by NYU Center for Disability Studies/Center for Media, Culture & History.

Sunday, May 2, 2021
2pm EDT – Short Films 4 Q+A (Full Picture, Neurim, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Daddy’s Girl).
4pm EDT – Game Changers Panel Discussion including Lauren Ridloff (The Eternals, Sound of Metal).
The past few years have marked an undeniable shift in the TV and film industries on what it means to tell an authentic story. Creators with lived experiences with disabilities are starring, producing, and representing refreshing perspectives that are emerging in the forefront of mainstream media. With the emergence of streamers and the content landscape wider than ever, what does it mean to tell an authentic story? How do disability stories expand into the mainstream? How does this shift affect the future of disability representation in the media and beyond?
6pm EDT – The Special Q+A co-presented by Cinema Arts Center.

Monday, May 3, 2021

1pm EDT – Fashion, Beauty, and Disability Panel Discussion: Intersectionality and Representation Through a Fashion Lens Join a panel discussion featuring models, designers and advocates leading intersectional representation of people with disabilities in the fashion and beauty industries. Moderated by Xian Horn. Panelists: Kristen KR Liu, Natalie Trevon, Dana Zumbo, Aubrie Lee.
3pm EDT – Black Future Month: Legacy, Present & Afro-Futurism Panel Discussion.
Join ADA30-Lead-On in a conversation about the history, impact, and purpose of the ADA and its unfulfilled goal of inclusion and diversity. Hear from disabled artists, innovators, and advocates and their allies, on the realities that keep us from the American “dream.” Panel will include Black-disabled filmmakers: Keith Jones, JD Michaels, Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Safiya Eshe Gyasi, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Trelanda R. Lowe.
5pm EDT – Maricarmen Q+A.
7:30pm EDT – ReelAbilities Comedy Night on the Meyerson Family Roof Terrace including comedians Maysoon Zayid, Tina Friml, and Martin Phillips. Hosted by Pamela Schuller. Sponsored by Chapel Haven Schleifer Center.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
1pm EDT – Augmented Q+A.
3pm EDT – Lights! Camera! Access! Dolby and Blackmagic Filmmaking Workshops.
5pm EDT – The World Is Bright Q+A co-presented by DCTV.
7pm EDT – In a Different Key Q+A co-presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021
5pm EDT – Disgraced- Live Reading.
Unproduced pilot written by Julie Klausner (creator/star of Difficult People; host, ;How Was Your Week) and Alex Scordelis (writer, Billy on the Street, Difficult People, Triumph specials), starring Shannon DeVido (Difficult People, Insatiable, Best Summer Ever). Co-sponsored by Writers Guild of America, East.
7pm EDT – Closing Night event Not Going Quietly Q+A + Special Guest Temple Grandin. Ady Barkan (subject), Liz Jaff (subject), Nicholas Bruckman (director), Amanda Roddy (producer)

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