The reel world of the disabled

Reframing Reality is a new film festival which will shed new light on the reality of people with functioning difficulties.

Ben X 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ben X 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Jerusalem Cinematheque is running the innovative Reframing Reality Festival, an international film festival aimed at challenging the concept of what it means to be disabled, from April 27-29. The festival is co-sponsored by SHEKEL, an organization that helps people with disabilities live as part of their community.
The ambitious festival features over 80 films, including documentaries, features and shorts, from Israel and around the world. A number of filmmakers will be visiting and will be present at screenings and take part in discussions. Among the feature films showing are Ben X, a painful, brilliant film from Belgium about a high-functioning autistic teen; What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which stars Johnny Depp as a confused teen who cares for his mentally retarded, autistic brother (Leonardo DiCaprio); and Shine, the Oscar-winning true story of mentally ill pianist David Helfgott. The much acclaimed documentary about an autistic boy whose parents took him to Mongolian shamans, The Horse Boy, is also on the program. Among the many Israeli films showing are Oded Leshem’s A Snail in the Desert, about a Beduin village with the highest percentage of deaf people in the world. Another Israeli film is Dani Menkin’s 39 Pounds of Love, about a severely disabled Israeli animator and his search for the doctor in the US who advised his parents to give up on him.
There will be nearly a dozen panels on various topics, including a symposium with some of Israel’s leading disabled rights activists, among them MK Ilan Gilon, Yoav Kraim and Ahiya Kamara, who will be present at a lecture by Taiwanese professor Kuo Yu Wang on defining disabled rights. Ido Granot, the CEO of the organization BeKol will lecture on the portrayal of the deaf in movies, before a screening of the film, What’s Bugging Seth?, about a young deaf man. There will also be concerts, video and art exhibits, and dance performance by and about people with disabilities.
The opening ceremony will take place on April 26, in the presence ofDeputy Mayor of Jerusalem Joseph Alalo. Veteran newscaster andfilmmaker Haim Yavin will host a performance by Moran Mazuz and theSHEKEL Miktsav Ensemble. There will also be a screening that night ofAdam, a feature film starring Hugh Dancy about ayoung man with Asperger syndrome trying to break out of his isolation.
TheJerusalem Cinematheque has gone to great lengths to make the venueaccessible to the disabled, as well as to provide headphones for theblind, signing for the deaf and various other innovations. Check withthe festival Web site to find out details on this, as well as topurchase tickets