Submissions are now open for the 15th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York taking place April 27-May 3, 2023 in a hybrid format.

ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. Started at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan in 2007, the annual festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout each hosting city. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Since 2020, the festival runs in a hybrid format, presenting films and events in-person and virtually. As part of the ReelAbilities accessibility mission, all films are screened with open captions and audio description, and live-events include accessible venues and seating, CART (live-captions), ASL interpretation, braille materials and sensory friendly spaces.

In addition to the original New York festival, ReelAbilities operates an international program with over 20 cities hosting ReelAbilities festivals and screenings that follow the same format and mission throughout the US, Canada and Latin America.
Films submitted and accepted to ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York will be eligible for programming at other ReelAbilities host city locations as part of ReelAbilities International.

The 15th annual festival will take place virtually and in multiple in-person locations throughout the NY metropolitan area between April 27-May 3, 2023.

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.

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 2023 are not eligible for submission.

* 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 2023. 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, 2023.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • 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!

  • Tobias Forrest

    Wonderful festival! Thank you for honoring our film, Dead End Drive, and including us in your panels for filmmakers. We loved every bit of this experience and are thrilled we were selected to be a part of ReelAbilities. ~DED

    June 2021
  • My multi-award winning short film 'ARETHA' was unfortunately not selected for screening at this festival, which is naturally disappointing as we would have loved to have our film shown, it seemed a perfect fit for this festival. We understand not every Film can be included, and we appreciate the Semi-Finalist status given to us. It is a pity that there are no Laurels for Semi-Finalists as it would be very beneficial for promotional purposes. I did email the festival twice in February but never received any reply, hence why I only gave it one Star for Communication.

    April 2020
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Hi Dave - Thank you for submitting your film, and we are sorry we weren't able to include it in the festival this year. We do appreciate your feedback and reaching out to us.

    We do not usually create laurels for Semi-Finalists, but we will review this option for the future.

    We are very sorry for any delays in responses. Our plans to reply to all submitter's questions had changed due to recent events with COVID-19 which caused us to focus all of our remaining resources on shifting the festival to virtual format. A new challenge for us. We hope you can understand. We would love for you to submit other projects to us in the future, and attend events virtually and hopefully in person once that is possible again.

  • Huge thanks to the wonderful team at RFF. A great festival with a true purpose.
    Due to the Covid 19 outbreak the festival was unable to host their live program, but in very short notice the team took the whole festival online and we did Q&As after our online screening via Zoom.
    We were so impressed with how the team pivoted and found a way to make the festival happen. And in doing so made the program even more accessible.
    Great work!

    April 2020
    Reelabilities program box
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your very kind words and for your support in adjusting to the new format and making this festival happen. It was a huge pleasure hosting your film and mostly being able to have you and Sue join us for the Q&As. We look forward to being in touch for future screenings of Kinetics.