ReelAbilities Film Fest NY 2020 Goes Virtual By Mabel Pais
“We feel that these stories still need to be told and that creating community is as important as ever. For the first time ever, we will present the majority of our films, Q+As, and conversations online. We believe this will allow us to advance our mission of accessibility, making our films and conversations available to our community at times when gathering together in person is not possible.“ – Isaac Zablocki: Director, ReelAbilities Film Festival – New York
“The current coronavirus restrictions are a doorway to new opportunities for us to be even more accessible and reach a wider audience. We offer a chance to connect at a time of solitude by bringing these films into people’s homes and allowing further interaction via live streamed Q+As and panels.“ – Yaara Kedem, Associate Director, ReelAbilities Film Festival – New York
The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan’s 12th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York, has decided to shift the planned festival from a live public event to a virtual format in partnership with Vimeo A11y, in light of the current COVID-19 recommendations. The festival runs on its planned dates of March 31 to April 6th. The updated virtual festival schedule is online at reelabilities.org/newyork. The festival runs on its planned dates of March 31 to April 6th. The updated virtual festival schedule is online at reelabilities.org/newyork
Isaac Zablocki, the director of ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York said, “We feel that these stories still need to be told and that creating community is as important as ever. For the first time ever, we will present the majority of our films, Q+As, and conversations online. We believe this will allow us to advance our mission of accessibility, making our films and conversations available to our community at times when gathering together in person is not possible.”
Films will be available online for 24 hours beginning at the scheduled start time and Q+As with filmmakers and guests will take place after the film’s first screening concludes. Films will still be fully accessible, presented with open captions and audio description. Q+As and panels will be broadcast in interactive live stream with captioning.
Yaara Kedem, the associate director of ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York, said, “We will continue to provide a platform to support our filmmakers and phenomenal films and to develop our community at a time in which fewer options are available. Filmmakers who are now experiencing many cancellations of their screenings worldwide have been thrilled with this new direction and are supportive in our efforts to make their films available to ReelAbilities audiences. The current coronavirus restrictions are a doorway to new opportunities for us to be even more accessible and reach a wider audience. We offer a chance to connect at a time of solitude by bringing these films into people’s homes and allowing further interaction via live streamed Q+As and panels.”
Rabbi Joy Levitt, the executive director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, said, “Because so much of our work at our buildings is about bringing people together, this feels like the right time to think out of the box (quite literally) and serve our community beyond our buildings.”
HOW IT WORKS
The films will be available to stream for users who sign up online, based on scheduled screening times. Screenings will be followed by interactive live-streamed Q+As with filmmakers directly after the film screening finishes. Films will then be available for streaming for the following 24 hours. Q+As will be recorded and made available for those who cannot join them live.
*Can I share the screening link with others?
No. Links to films are only for the individual who purchased a ticket. You may not forward or share the link with others.
*If I want to cancel, will I receive a refund for tickets I already purchased?
If you already purchased a ticket, your ticket is still valid and you will be able to receive a link to the virtual film. If you would like to cancel and receive a refund instead, please email [email protected]
*How much will tickets cost for the virtual film screenings?
Tickets for virtual film screenings are available at a $5 general admission price and a $15 supporter price.
*Will there be a festival pass available for the virtual festival?
No. You may purchase standalone tickets to films.
*What films and events will take place virtually?
The full schedule of films and events is available at reelabilities.org/newyork
*Are the virtual screenings available to users located outside the US?
No. Due to screening rights restrictions, streamed films and conversations will only be accessible to people located within the US territories.
*What events will physically take place?
None. Events will either take place virtually or will be cancelled. Check the updated schedule at www.reelabilities.org
*How will I receive access to the film?
You will receive an email link with instructions to access the film after purchasing tickets to a screening. The film will only be available starting at the scheduled start time.
*I won’t be able to watch the film at the scheduled start time. Is there a way for me to still watch the film?
Yes. The streaming links to the films will be available for 24 hours after the initial start time. Q+As will be recorded so that they are available for those who cannot join them live.
*Will there be a Q+A with filmmakers after the films?
There will be a Q+A after the first play of the film concludes. Q+As will feature filmmakers and guests with a moderator. Audiences will be able to type in questions and questions will be selected by the moderator. Recorded versions of the Q+A will be available as well.
*Are the films still going to include accessibility aids?
Yes, all the films will be streamed with open captions and an option for audio description. Q+As will feature live captioning.
*Will screenings and events still take place at venues other than the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan?
No. All films and events at other venues will be canceled.
About ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York
ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest film festival in the world dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Founded in New York in 2007 by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring communities virtually together to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience. The New York festival is the launching pad for an international program and its selections run satellite ReelAbilities festivals in over 20 cities worldwide. Learn more at reelabilities.org/newyork
About the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
Together with its community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn with progressive programming within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. The JCC events extend beyond neighborhood boundaries, reaching people at all stages of their lives. Learn more at jcc manhattan.org.
(Mabel Pais writes on Social Issues, The Arts and Entertainment, Health & Wellness, and Spirituality)