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Forest Hills Film Fest To Highlight Disabilities

ReelAbilities Showcase will debut at Central Queens Y next month.

The will host a city-wide film festival, ReelAbilities: NY Disabilities Film Festival on overcoming disabilities. The ReelAbilities Film Festival, now in its third year, will be held Feb. 3-8 at the Central Queens Y on 108th Street.

ReelAbilities is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. These films highlighted are created to bring together a community to explore, discuss and celebrate the diversity of the human experience. Films scheduled to show this year will have an increased focus on man-made disabilities and mental illness.

Presented by the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, with the support of the United Jewish Appeal Federation and over 40 partnering organizations, ReelAbilities will feature 11 films showcased in 20 venues, opening and closing night receptions, special non-film programs, panel discussions with guest filmmakers, and educational programming in various locations.

“I hope this awareness of people with disabilities wins itself toward people [learning about this],” said Jeri Mendelson, associate executive director of the Central  Queens Y and Samuel Field Y. "I'm very excited to bring [this to] the Forest Hills community."

What started out as a film festival held within Manhattan has now expanded to reach a wide range of audiences.

“It is gratifying to see how these exceptional films attract a diverse audience of film lovers and engaging the community,"  said festival co-director Ravit Turjeman. "This year is especially significant as we launch a traveling program, bringing this ground-breaking festival to five major cities during 2011.”

Besides being presented at the Central Queens Y, the festival will be debuting  various  award-winning films at venues throughout the five boroughs, Roosevelt Island, Long Island and Westchester. Among the venues are the Guggenheim, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Public Library.

Two films to be featured at the Central Y will be "Anita," about a young girl with Down syndrome who gets separated from her mother at their Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires.

The second featured film will be "Warrior Champions," which follows former Iraqi war veterans who transform their life of war into an Olympic competition. 

"Anita" will show on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m., while "Warrior Champion" will debut Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. To order tickets, call 718-268-5011 or visit www.centralqueensy.org/tickets for more information.

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