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The Boston Jewish Film Festival presents the 2nd annual ReelAbilities Boston Disabilities Film Festival

Posted by Laura Gomez  January 3, 2013 12:17 PM

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The Boston Jewish Film Festival will present the 2nd annual ReelAbilities Boston Disabilities Film Festival, showcasing films about the lives of people with different disabilities from a variety of communities.

The Festival kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 31 at the West Newton Cinema and will continue with presentations through Sunday, Feb. 5 at the West Newton Cinema and other locations in Boston, Springfield, and Hanover.

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Body and Soul (Mozambique).

The series of nine films, from Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Mozambique, Spain and the U.S., represents a slice of how cultures experience and deal with disabilities.

“While the films do touch on the differences between people with and without disabilities, they focus more on the commonalities among all people,” says Artistic Director Amy Geller.

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Mary and Max (Australia).

For the first time, the Festival will show films in conjunction with organizations aiding the disabled at the Jewish Community Center in Newton, the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover, and the Scibelli Enterprise Center in Springfield. The organizations will host their own screenings.

"Connecting with these new partners allows us to serve a more targeted audience while at the same time exposing films to different audiences than we traditionally reach through The Boston Jewish Film Festival,” notes Geller.

All films are open captioned. Speakers and panel discussions will broaden themes raised by films.

The festival films are:

THURSDAY, Jan. 31 - Mary and Max (Australia) at West Newton Cinema – An animated film about a lonely eight-year-old outcast (voice by Toni Collette) living near Melbourne, who becomes pen pals with an eccentric, but caring Max Horovitz (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), a 44-year-old Jewish New Yorker with Asperger’s syndrome. After the showcase of Mary & Max, a couple with Asperger syndrome will talk about their experiences.

SATURDAY, Feb. 2 - The Straight Line (France) at 7 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts – A taut French sports drama about a blind runner, who trains with a former athlete with a criminal past. Josh Crary, who authors the Boston Blind Runner blog and will run the Boston Marathon for the second time in April, will speak after the film.

SUNDAY, Feb. 3 - Body and Soul (Mozambique) at noon at the MFA – An uplifting documentary following three young Mozambicans with physical disabilities. Dr. Jeanne Marie Penvenne, social and labor historian of colonial Mozambique and history professor at Tufts University, will introduce Body and Soul.

SUNDAY, Feb. 3 - Me, Too (Spain) at the MFA and Monday, Feb. 4 at Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover – This gripping Spanish drama is about a recent college grad with Down syndrome and his bond with his lively workmate.

MONDAY Feb. 4 - Mabul (Israel) at the Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center in Newton – An award-winning Israeli film in which Yoni studies his bar mitzvah portion about the story of Noah’s Ark amidst a troubled family. Life gets very complicated when older brother Tomer, who is severely autistic, returns home.

MONDAY, Feb. 4 - Shorts Program at Scibelli Enterprise Center in Springfield – features three short films, Anything You Can Do about two youths, one wheelchair bound, in competition with each other; Aphasia, a comical docudrama about actor Carl McIntyre, who suffers a stroke; and I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone (Brazil), about a teen boy, who is blind, with complicated male/female relationships.

TUESDAY, Feb. 5 - Princess (Finland) at West Newton Cinema – Cheerful, delusional Anna lives in a Finnish psychiatric hospital believing she is an English royal. Can “Princess” escape a dangerous lobotomy, a cutting-edge psychiatric treatment in the mid-20th century, the period in which the film is set? Social worker and local therapist Goldie Eder will moderate a panel about the portrayal of mentally ill character in contemporary film after Princess.

Tickets are $10 general admission for Mary and Max, The Straight Line and Princess. Body & Soul and Me, Too at the MFA are $4.

Complimentary tickets are available for individuals with disabilities.

Films at the Cardinal Cushing Centers, Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center and Scibelli Enterprise Center are free.

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