Submissions are now open for the 17th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York taking place April 3-9, 2025.

ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York is the flagship ReelAbilities Festival, the largest festival in the U.S. dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. The annual festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities, accompanied by post-screening discussions and other engaging programs, bringing together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Following the NY edition, filmmakers are invited to participate in the ReelAbilities affiliate festivals program, bringing their films to ReelAbilities festivals and programs presented in cities across North America.

As part of the ReelAbilities accessibility mission, produces and presents all films open captions and closed audio description. In person events include accessible venues and seating, CART (live-captions), ASL interpretation, braille materials and sensory friendly spaces.

ReelAbilities Film Festival is a BAFTA qualifying festival in the shorts category.

The 17th annual festival will take place both virtually and in multiple in-person locations throughout the NY metropolitan area between April 3-9, 2025.

We are looking for films presenting the lives and stories of disabled individuals and communities (in front or behind the camera) that explore, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of the shared human experience.

We accept features (over 40 min), shorts (up to 40 min), narratives and documentaries from all countries, completed on or after January 2022.

We prioritize films that are made by disabled creators, and that include authentic representations from actors, writers, directors, and crew with lived experiences with disabilities.

In addition - we encourage and prioritize submissions which include captions and audio description.

Eligibility requirements for submission:
* Films must be related to the topic of disability, such as: autism, chronic illness, hearing loss and deafness, vision loss and blindness, intellectual disability, learning disability, memory loss, mental health, physical disability, speech and language disorders, PTSD and other disabilities not specified above.

* Films that have been (or plan to be) widely/commercially released theatrically or on VOD/stream prior to April 2025 are not eligible for submission. You may contact us for out-of-festival screening / collaboration.

* Films that are advertisements commissioned by a commercial company or a promotional video for an organization (PSAs) are not eligible for submission.

* Screeners sent as links should be available through April 2025. Links must be updated by submitters on their FilmFreeway account if changed.

* Submissions with captioning and audio description are encouraged so that they can be viewed by all selection committee members.

By submitting your film you are acknowledging that:
1. To the best of your knowledge, all of your statements above are accurate.
2. You are duly authorized, on your behalf and on the behalf of any person or entity that has ownership rights in the work, to submit it to the Festival and you represent that this submission is not in violation of any law nor violates any right of said person or entity.
3. You hold ReelAbilities Film Festival, its officers, as well as any of its fiscal sponsors and affiliated entities, harmless from any damage to, or loss of, any materials submitted by you, whether that damage occurs en-route to or from the Festival or during the course of the Festival's possession of said materials.
4. You do not have a planned theatrical or online release of the film prior to April, 2025.

Overall Rating
  • An incredible festival. Truly one of a kind. Sincerely hope to see this same kind of work being done in the UK soon! Thank you to ReelAbilities for including How to Build a Life in the 2024 selection!

    April 2024
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words! We are thankful for the opportunity to share such an important film with our community. It was wonderful to have filmmaker Matthew Reese join us at the festival and summit!

  • I was honored to have my documentary Left Alone Rhapsody included in the 2024 ReelAbilities Film Festival: NY. The care and consideration the festival staff took to accommodate the needs of the artists made the experience a total joy. The panel discussions during the Industry Summit were engaging and informative. And the open captioned DCP prints created by the festival enhanced the viewing experience for everyone in the audience. John Bayless, (the subject of the documentary), and I, both felt completely embraced by the ReelAbilities community, and are so delighted to have become part of that incredible family!

    April 2024
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Stewart! It was an absolute pleasure sharing your incredible film with our audience, and having you and John join us in New York. We look forward to continue showcasing the film through our affiliate festivals across the U.S. and beyond.

  • Nicholas Riini

    Great Festival! Great communication and very supportive of our film.

    December 2022
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Nicholas! It is absolutely our pleasure to share the important work of filmmakers like you with our community!

  • Adam Deyoe

    Thank you so much for screening my film "Davey's Lullaby"! ReelAbilities was absolutely wonderful. The quality of the films were above and beyond and I loved everything I saw. Staff was incredible. Very attentive and got back to me immediately with any questions I had. The Q and As were some of the most insightful I've ever attended. Really a wonderful job by all! One of the most fulfilling experiences I've had at a festival.

    April 2022
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Adam. It was an absolute pleasure to have you share your incredible film, and having you join us and be so present and involved in all of our events, and speaking with our audiences. Hope to see you again soon!

  • Rebekah Louisa Smith

    THANK YOU to this awesome festival for creating such a wonderful experience for our clients and their film AIMEE VICTORIA - so excited to be a prt of this festival and also your international programme

    April 2022
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    We are thrilled that we get to share Aimee Victoria with audiences everywhere. Thank you!