Celebrate the stories of those with disabilities at the ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival

Photo courtesy of ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival

Embrace the diverse lives we lead at the 11-day ReelAbilities Film and Arts Festival from Monday, February 12 through Thursday, February 22, 2018.

The largest festival of its type in the United States, the city-wide ReelAbilities Film and Arts Festival returns for its sixth year to promote inclusion by celebrating the lives, stories, and talents of people living with disabilities.

Anchored by a five-day film festival, the event also features a speaker series, live music jam session, art exhibit, educational tours to local schools, and seminars at local offices, to help change perceptions about individuals with varying levels of abilities.

Film at ReelAbilities

Founded in New York in 2007 and now presented in 14 cities, the festival’s film portion presents award-winning works by and about people with different disabilities and will be held at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 from Sunday, February 18 to Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Visitors can see up to 14 films followed by an interactive panel that fosters dialogue between the audience, the filmmaker, parents, professionals, persons with disabilities, and that explore the particular subjects depicted in the film.

Movie admission and parking will be free for festival-goers, but you must reserve tickets. Times vary per screening. Click here to check out the complete schedule of films showing.

Photo courtesy of ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival


Moving beyond just strictly film, ReelArt, a gallery exhibit at the JFS Center for Art and Photography at Celebration Company, will kick off the festival on Monday, February 12 from 6pm to 8pm, and stay on display throughout the remainder of the 11-day festival.

The event will feature a meet-and-greet with visiting artist Brandon Lack, a talented artist from Austin who has Down syndrome, and more than 20 exhibiting Celebration Company artists living with disabilities.

Operated by JFS Houston’s Disability Services Program, Celebration Company is a Houston-based entrepreneurial program composed of 20 adult artists living with disabilities who create art for both a leisure activity and a life skill.


Taking place on the event’s final day at White Oak Music Hall, live music fans can check out ReelMusic on Thursday, February 22 from 7pm to 9pm.

The occasion will mark the closing of the festival with an all-inclusive jazz and blues music jam where professional musicians invite artists with disabilities to perform.

Houston jazz vocalist Dee Dee Dochen will chair and emcee the high-energy musical evening.

ReelPeople: UP Abilities

Another unique offering to ReelAbilities Houston is ReelPeople: UP Abilities –a series of intellectually-stimulating speeches from three thought leaders from across the world on Thursday, February 15 from 7pm to 9pm.

This year’s ticketed event will be held at HCC West Loop South Campus and will feature Mandy Harvey, a respected American singer-songwriter who is deaf and a 2017 finalist on America’s Got Talent.

Also included in the line-up speakers are Joseph Bensmihen, an advisor and groundbreaking advocate for people with disabilities, born with cerebral palsy; and Caroline Casey, a Dublin-based serial social entrepreneur behind the global #valuable campaign to bring inclusion to the workplace.

Tickets to this event are available for purchase online for $18. The doors open at 6:15pm and the presentation begins at 7pm.

About ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival

ReelAbilities is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting inclusion for people with disabilities through the arts.

The mission of ReelAbilities is to utilize the arts as a vehicle to both educate and change perceptions about individuals living with disabilities.

Launched in New York in 2007, Houston is one of the 14 cities currently expanding the festival throughout the country.

ReelAbilities Film & Arts Festival

This story was sponsored by ReelAbilities Film and Arts Festival. Per our sponsorship policy, we only accept sponsored content from businesses that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, resource, or destination for residents and visitors across the greater Houston area. Click here to learn about promoting your event or business