Autistic Like Me: A Father’s Perspective

Charles Jones / USA / English / 82 min


Autistic Like Me examines the lives of fathers and male caregivers raising children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dispelling the archaic notion of “big boys don’t cry”, Autistic Like Me uniquely chronicles the emotional struggle of a group of fathers as they open up to one another about the fear, disappointment and, ultimately, the acceptance of a very different parenting experience than they had envisioned.
The film candidly captures the journeys of these families, demonstrating that when a child is diagnosed with autism, the whole family is affected. Autistic Like Me brings into focus the fathers, who by having difficult time accepting the reality of the condition, often lead to the fracturing of their families. The men featured in Autistic Like Me are at various stages of their journey toward that acceptance and, catalyzed by the film, begin expressing emotions they’ve previously suppressed.

Coaching Colburn

Jeff Bemiss / USA / English / 16 min


James Colburn was born with Fragile X Syndrome. At 26, he is a child at heart who finds joy in small things and uses his gift of comedic timing to inspire those around him.

Endless Abilities

Harvey Burrell, Tripp Clemens / USA / English / 72 min


Four best friends drive across the country in search of adaptive sports for individuals who, like them, have with physical disabilities, and live to tell the story in a documentary film. Their cameras captured the reality of broken boundaries and common goals among all who are active—from rehabilitation patients to Paralympic athletes. The quartet goes rock climbing with people who are blind, play soccer with quadriplegics, and swim with athletes with muscular dystrophy… to name a just few. Through their journey, they learn that sports really are the great equalizer, unifying people of all abilities on a level playing field.


Lou Howe / USA / English / 87 min

Rory Culkin delivers an electrifying performance as Gabriel, a vulnerable and confused teenager longing for stability and happiness amidst an ongoing struggle with mental illness. Convinced that reuniting with his old girlfriend holds the answer to all his troubles, Gabriel risks it all in a desperate and increasingly obsessive pursuit, testing the limits of his compassionate family as his inner demons begin to close in around him.
First-time writer-director Lou Howe’s portrait of a young man at the breaking point of his psychological battle is a powerful debut that will resonate long after its haunting final moments.

Guest Room

Joshua Tate / USA / English / 14 min

A young woman with Down Syndrome grapples with her identity and her potential as a mother
after an unplanned pregnancy with her boyfriend. Starring Lauren Potter (Glee).

Hear This!

Soulaima El Khaldi / Netherlands / Dutch / 15 min


When 10-year-old Tristan wants his dad to become the trainer of his soccer team, the club won’t allow it because his father is deaf. Tristan decides to prove them wrong.

Jon Imber’s Left Hand

Richard Kane / USA / English / 63 min


Jon Imber’s Left Hand traces this artist’s life and adaptations due to ALS, switching from painting with his right hand to his left, then to both as the degenerative condition worsens. Adversity only makes him more determined: and he creates more than 100 portraits in three month. The film first encounters Imber in his studio with his partner analyzing his self-portrait and talking about the terror to come. The painting becomes an unsettling metaphor of his psychological journey, living into his dying through his art.

Keep Rollin’

Stefan Hillebrand, Oliver Paulus / Switzerland / Germany / German / 95 min


After incurring a spinal cord injury after a snowboarding accident, Valentin is forced by his father to participate in a theatre project for people with disabilities. In his resistance to the idea, Valentin has only one ray of hope – Mira, a beautiful caretaker. But there’s a problem: she’s going steady with a local slime-ball named Marc. Out of frustration about himself and the world, Valentin decides to rob the gas station where Marc works. His housemates, Lukas and Titus, are all for it and offer their help. It is the beginning of a man-to-man friendship and an adventurous plan that may or may not be successful.


Daniel Moshel / USA / English / 86 min


Elaborate digital platforms like Second Life and World of Warcraft offer novel opportunities for friendship, sex, employment, and aesthetic experience in virtual communities populated by cartoon-like avatars. Centered around people who have found communities online, Login 2 Life profiles people deeply immersed in virtual worlds, including individuals who are homebound because of their disabilities, and attempts to understand what these individuals get from their virtual lives.

Marie’s Story

Jean-Pierre Améris / France / French / 95 min


Based on real-life events that took place in the late nineteenth century, Marie’s Story follows the story of a deaf and blind fourteen-year-old girl who can’t communicate with the outside world. Despite the advice of a doctor who believes she is “dumb,” Marie’s father, a humble artisan, cannot bring himself to commit her to an asylum. Out of despair, he takes her to the Larnay Institute near Poitiers where nuns take care of young deaf women. Her Mother Superior’s skepticism notwithstanding, Sister Marguerite, a young nun, takes Marie under her wing and does everything she can to bring her to open up to her surroundings.


Pedro Amorim / Portugal / Portuguese / 6 min

An ordinary workday in the life of a stevedore, who executes his job with surprising grace and simplicity — but when Sunday comes, an altogether different man emerges.

Mimi and Dona

Sophie Sartain / USA / English / 66 min


What happens when love runs out of time? For a 92-year-old mother, Mimi, who has cared for Dona, her daughter who has an intellectual disability, for 64 years, it means facing the inevitable: she will not outlive her daughter and must find her daughter a home. This poignant, heartbreaking and, at times, humorous documentary traces this process through the story of a wonderfully quirky and deeply connected mother-daughter duo. The film spotlights the challenges of aging caregivers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – some 4.6 million Americans, 75% of whom live at home with family – and details the ripple effects of Dona’s disability on three generations of a Texas family.

No Ordinary Hero - The SuperDeafy Movie

Troy Kotsur / USA / English / 78 min


Based on the internationally known SuperDeafy character, No Ordinary Hero (featuring Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin) is the evolution story of a hero in this family drama.  While Tony Kane, a deaf actor who plays a superhero on television, looks beyond his cape to influence a deaf boy, Jacob Lang, to redefine what “being normal” means, he also finds inspiration to transform himself.  Jacob is being bullied at school and is constantly misunderstood by his father. When Tony and Jacob’s paths cross, they inspire belief in each other and in themselves.

On Beauty

Joanna Rudnick / USA / English / 30 min

Photographer Rick Guidotti left the fashion world along with its restrictive parameters of the industry’s standard of beauty and re-focused his lens on those too often relegated to the shadows.

Q Film

Alice Elliot / USA / English / 2 min

World Premiere

A man enters a pool area, gets out of his wheelchair, and goes for a swim.

Reel Encounters 2015

Various Directors

ReelAbilities is proud to showcase a remarkable line-up of short films from around the world.  The films will be shown in various compilations, or paired with full length films.
Included films are: Coaching Colburn, Guest Room , Hear This!, Midfield, Q Film, Rolling Romance, Super, The Gift, The Hyperglot, The Kiss .


Various Directors / 90 min

A compilation of short films about relationships, love and life…
Including: Guest Room, The Gift, The Hyperglot, The Kiss, Rolling Romance

Riding My Way Back

Robin Fryday, Peter Rosenbaum / USA / English / 29 min

When Staff Sergeant Aaron Heliker returned from multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injury, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, third-degree burns and nerve damage, he was introduced to the unlikeliest of saviors: a horse named Fredand.

Rolling Romance

David Conley / USA / English / 28 min

Orson and Janice, two twenty-somethings with muscular dystrophy, go on a date after meeting on an online dating site.


Samara Hersch / Australia / English / 6 min

A mockumentary in which a supermarket manager saves the business when he discovers his employees with disabilities have super powers.

The Astronaut’s Secret

Zach Jankovic / USA / English / 30 min

In 1996, Michael ‘Rich’ Clifford performed the first American spacewalk while docked to the Russian Mir Space Station. Fifteen years later Rich Clifford reveals that he had Parkinson’s disease while performing that spacewalk.

The Case of the Three Sided Dream

Adam Kahan / USA / English / 88 min

Blind from infancy, and paralyzed by a stroke at adulthood, jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s reality was underpinned by an understanding of the world around him, which was rooted primarily in sound. Through communicating sonically with his surroundings, Kirk developed a unique ability to see in music, as everyday items were re-imagined as instruments and each seemingly insignificant noise revealed its own rhythm and cadence. It was in dreams that Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s most brilliant visions—such as playing multiple horns at once—would often be granted.

The Finishers

Nils Tavernier / France / Belguim / French / 95 min


At 17 years old, Julien has a great sense of humor, bags of charm, and cerebral palsy. In a bid to bond with his father, Julien challenges him to participate with him in the Ironman race in Nice, France, a triathlon in which his father has previously competed. Doing the race alone is an incredible challenge, but completing it together with Julien would be nearly impossible. Still, his father agrees and the two set out to train for and compete in one of the most intense races on earth. Beyond the sporting exploit, this is the story of one family’s exemplary journey, and a moving portrait of the love between a father and his son.

The Gift

Spencer Harvey and Lloyd Harvey / Australia / English / 16 min

Grace is forced to face her own sexuality and the strain on her marriage when her son Charlie, who has Cerebral Palsy, asks to lose his virginity for his birthday.

The Hyperglot

Michael Urie / USA / Various / 25 min

Jake speaks many languages but when it comes to the language of love he has a lot to learn.

The Kiss

Charlie Swinbourne / UK / English / 7 min

When a couple on a first date strikes up a conversation with the couple on the next table, they find themselves witnessing a very unusual kiss….

The Special Need

Carlo Zoratti / Italy/Germany/Austria/France / Italian/German / 84 min


29 year old Enea really wants to have sex. As Italy doesn’t offer any legal solution for the desires of a person with autism, Enea decides to set out on a journey to Northern Europe with his friends Carlo and Alex. What begins as a search for physical love ends up posing new questions and new, unexpected answers.

New York
The JCC in Manhattan Presented by The JCC in Manhattan