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The ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival

The ReelAbilities NY Disabilities Film Festival was initiated at the JCC in    Manhattan, in 2007. The festival was the first of its kind to present award- winning films by and about people with disabilities. Screenings took place at multiple venues throughout the city and they were followed by discussions that brought together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival

In 2012, Cincinnati, Ohio was the first city to follow in New York’s footsteps by hosting a ReelAbilities Film Festival. Since then, the festival has spread to over a dozen cities in North America, and we have received more than 500 films for consideration submitted from across the globe. In 2014, the festival’s national headquarters moved to Cincinnati where it is being managed by a nonprofit, Living Arrangements for Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc.

Montclair ReelAbilities Film Festival

In 2013, as the NY Reelabilities Festival expanded into New Jersey, Montclair State University was the Preview site for the state. We began with an audience of over 200 for the screening of “The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes”

Who is Involved?

Fran Prezant

Fran Prezant, Managing Director, ReelAbilities: Montclair

Fran teaches in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Montclair State University. Prior to that she was at Indiana University of Pennsylvania teaching and directing the Parent Information Project, a training and support program for parents of children with disabilities.

In 1999 she received the University Award for Public Service. Fran was also at the National Center for Disability Services in NY as Director of Research Evaluation and as Vice President securing grant funding and overseeing programs in research, assistive technology, employment and higher education, and arts access in schools and museums.  It was at NCDS that she first hosted Reelabilities as it began and became involved with the Reelabilities Advisory Council.

She has conducted research and coauthored 4 books related to disability and family, school, and life issues. Her prior research includes extensive interviews of parents regarding the impact of their child’s disability on marriage and family relationships. Fran served as a two term reviewer for the Dolly Gray Awards from CEC for best children’s books portraying disability as part of the story line.

Kaitlin Fitzpatrick, Assistant Director, ReelAbilities: Montclair

Kaitlin is a graduate student currently working towards getting her masters in the field of speech language pathology from Montclair University. Previously she worked as an elementary school teacher, stop motion animation instructor and Lego Robotics coach. She also spent time as the Webmaster and social media coordinator for the Teachers of Young Children Association.

Elaine Gerber, Moderator, Reel Abilities: Montclair

Dr. Gerber is a medical anthropologist and disability studies scholar. Her work examines the intersection between culture and the body. Her earlier work dealt with women’s reproductive health; her more recent work has focused on disability. This work understands disability as a social construction, and a key lens through which to examine culture. There are both theoretical contributions and practical applications to her work.

Organizing Agency:

Montclair University

The Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders


College of the Arts

ReelAbilities, presented by JCC Manhattan, in partnership with Ladd Inc. National sponsors: Jason's Connection , Saul Schottenstein Foundation B.

ReelAbilities: Montclair


973-655-7124 (office) or 516-375-6244 (cell)

Montclair State University

1515 Broad Street Campus, Bloomfield, NJ 07003