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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

ReelAbilities film festival promotes understanding of different lives

Scenes from some of the films in ReelAbilities.
ReelAbilities, a film festival dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities, takes place in several venues in Northern Virginia Sept. 18-24.

The festival is hosted by the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia with support from several organizations, including Chimes, the Joey Pizzanno Memorial Foundation, Best Buddies Capital Region, Special Olympics Virginia, the Arc of Northern Virginia, and the GI Film Festival.

Some of the films will be screened in the Annandale/Mason area, including the Angelika Film Center in the Mosaic District, the Phillips School in Annandale, and the JCCNV. A festival pass is $65. Individual films are about $15 ($10 for students).

Reel Abilities starts with a “sneak-peak” free presentation of “Anita,” Sept. 11, 4 p.m., at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road, Alexandria. “Anita,” in Spanish with subtitles, is the story of sheltered young girl with Down syndrome whose life is upended after the bombing of the Israelite Mutual Aid Association in Buenos Aires in 1994.

The opening night presentation is “Margarita, Girl with a Straw,” about a Punjabi teenager with cerebral palsy who experiences a new world of possibilities after coming to New York City to pursue her passion for writing. It’s Sept. 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Angelica Film Center. There will be a discussion with the filmmakers and a reception after the show.

On Sept. 19, there is a free screening of four short films at the Phillips School, at 7010 Braddock Road in Annandale, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is required.

The presentation Sept. 22, 7:30 p.m., at the Angelika, features two films about wounded warriors, “Birthday” and “The Last Time I Heard True Silence.”

The closing-night show, Sept. 24, 7:30, at the Angelika, is “The Finishers,” about a boy with cerebral palsy who challenges his father to compete with him in an Ironman race. After the movie, there will be a reception and discussion with two Ironman competitors with disabilities.

Click here for the full schedule.

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