In years past, the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival has attracted more than 8,000 attendees, but this year’s Festival is shaping up to be bigger than ever.
With celebrity guests like Breaking Bad's RJ Mitte (Walter White "Flynn" Jr.), various discussions and workshops, themed parties and celebrations and 60 film screenings — all of which will be showcased at the Duke Energy Convention Center, this year's Festival is becoming what Director of Public Relations Lisa Desatnik says is a true Hollywood style film event.
“The films are world class,” she says. “A number have won awards — they’re coming from all over.”
Organized by Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, RAFF aims to showcase the lives, stories and artistry of those with disabilities.
According to Desatnik, 1.3 billion individuals worldwide — a number equivalent to the population of China — are living with a disability, and face challenges with dexterity, cognition or the senses. This section of the population includes veterans and those with mental health issues.
“People will leave the Festival with different ideas of what disability is,” Desatnik says. “It’s a beautiful way to break down barriers to the community with questions about diversity and difference.”
To enrich the lives of those with disabilities, proceeds from the Festival will benefit 28 local nonprofits. Previous years’ festivals have helped local organizations tremendously. For example, the 2015 RAFF generated $50,000 for 17 local nonprofits, but this year it is on target to raise much more.
“Each screening is matched with a nonprofit that serves people with a disability,” Desatnik says. “They share a work that’s all about strengthening lives of those with disabilities.”
This year’s event also includes a tribute to veterans, an Interfaith Breakfast that will kick off a year-long effort of religious institutions supporting inclusion efforts through art and film and Family Fun Shorts — a showing that will feature a variety of animated short films.
“I love that it’s getting young kids involved and opening the community up to talking about difference,” Desatnik says. “It should make Cincinnati proud to see how many businesses, nonprofits, academic and governmental institutions are supporting the festival. Its impact is broad and far-reaching.”
- RAFF is still in need of volunteers. You’ll receive a free T-shirt and two tickets to a film if you sign up to help.
- Purchase tickets to this year’s festival. RAFF will run March 9-12, with all film screenings at the Duke Energy Convention Center.
- It’s not too late to sponsor the event. Contact the Cincinnati RAFF today.