Jim Gloster / USA / English / 40 min / Official Website

Aphasia tells the true story of actor Carl McIntyre about the effects of a massive stroke he suffered at the age of 44 - he lost his ability to read, write and speak. Starring as himself, McIntyre portrays his life story with an incredibly nuanced performance. Through humor and pathos Aphasia speaks to anyone who has struggled to meet life’s challenges.

Come As You Are

Geoffrey Enthoven / Belgium / Dutch, French, Spanish / 115 min

A quirky road movie about three young men with disabilities on a quest to lose their virginity. These buddies enjoy the finer things in life, including wine and song; the only thing missing is the touch of a women. Isolated by their disabilities and cared for by their parents at home, they convince their families they need to go to Spain on a “wine tour” but this is a cover for their true destination—a Spanish brothel that caters to men with disabilities.

Ocean Heaven

Xiao Lu Xue / China / Mandarin / 96 min

Jet Li, in his first dramatic role, stars in this moving story of a father’s tireless love for his autistic son and his attempt to teach his son the life skills necessary to survive on his own. A poignant tribute to parents’ infinite love for their children.

Reel Encounters Greater DC

Various / 110 min

Dir. Michelle Friedline
USA, 2012, 9 min, Documentary
RV Kuser is a clever and dapper man of 50 with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has learned to suppress certain behaviors so he can fully embrace life. He and his wife, Marlene, share secrets about their bond and RV reveals the true meaning of unconditional love.

Dir. Genevieve Clay
Australia, 2010, 17 min, Narrative
Two people with developmental disabilities navigate the challenges they are faced when their relationship is displayed in public.

Dir. Genevieve Clay
Australia, 2009, 8 min, Narrative
A young man with Down Syndrome breaks down the barriers of social prejudice when his charm and charisma challenge the prejudices of a stranger at a bus stop.

Dir. Justin Edgar
UK, 2011, 18 min, Narrative
A comedic short that follows a disastrous disability conference at a drab hotel. As plans for the conference unravel a comedy of politically incorrect manners unfolds.

Dir. David Block
USA, 2012, 15 min, Documentary
Wheelchair users and able-bodied partners bring their two worlds together on the dance floor - proving that everyone can dance.

Dir. Catherine van Campen
Netherlands, 2010, 21 min, Documentary
Eleven-year-old Anne is the kind of beautiful girl you can’t take your eyes off. The longer you look, the more you see her ‘tics’ from her Tourette’s syndrome - she suddenly spins or licks something. Anne is afraid of being teased at school and tries to keep her tics in check though she prefers ‘flying’ through life, so no one notices her tics.

Dir. Michelle Vargas
USA, 2009, 3 min, Narrative
It should be like any other tap dance audition. Mary’s been to hundreds. Everything is going great until mid-dance when her well-kept secret, is exposed.

Dir. Miguel Jiron
USA, 2012, 3 min, Narrative
This animation gives the viewer a glimpse into the sensory overload experienced by people with autism and shows how often sensory experiences intertwine in everyday life.

Dir. Ross Cohen
USA, 2012, USA, 16 min, Narrative
In 1964, a young pediatrician begins his residency at Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, only to discover that the institution is conducting Army funded experiments on developmentally disabled children. Based on true events.

Reel Signs

Various / Various / 54 min

Dir. Louis Neethling
UK, Narrative, 2009, 27 min, Narrative
Mark, a deaf man who was adopted by hearing parents, is determined to uncover the truth about his past. As the past collides with the present, Mark begins to wonder if ‘truth’ is always empowering or if it is sometimes wiser to forget the past.

Dir. Louis Neethling
UK, 2010, 27 min, Narrative
Matt, a young hospital cleaner with a wife and a baby avoids responsibility, staying out late and coming home drunk. When he meets Sid, a patient in the hospital who is also deaf, they bond and slowly come to realize that they can give courage to eachother.

Six Points About Emma

Roberto Perez Toledo / Spain / Spanish / 90 min

Emma is a magnetic, attractive, almost thirty-year old blind woman. Determined to have a baby, she sets out on a search for a man to get her pregnant. Two apparently ideal candidates appear in Emma’s life: Germán, a psychologist she knows from a therapy group she attends, and her young neighbor, Diego. Emma’s objective seems easy enough to achieve, but our heroine soon falls into the trap of her own devising and discovers that blindness comes in many forms.

Son of the Stars

Michelle Chen Miao / China / 90 min

Zheng Zheng, a young mother in search of her husband, travels the great distance from northern China to Dong Guan, “the land of tens of thousands of factories.”  With her special-needs child Xin Xin in tow, she finds herself alone in the enormous city, with nothing but her wits and inner strength to guide her. When she fails to find her husband, she is forced to take a factory job and hands her son over to the care of a community-home. Zheng Zheng is promoted, moves into an apartment, and finds a new love but the relationship is not without strings attached and caring for an autistic son proves increasingly challenging.

The Importance of Tying Your Own Shoes

Lena Koppel / Sweden / Swedish / 100 min

When Alex gets a job as the leader of a local theater group for people with disabilities his outlook on life begins to change. Through the theater group’s work, Alex comes to appreciate that every person has his or own talents, which can grow if given the opportunity and support.

Wampler’s Ascent

Jacques Spitzer / USA / English / 77 min

Steve Wampler, needs to do 20,000 pull-ups to climb the famous El Capitan Mountain in Yosemite – only 2-6 inches at a time, due to his cerebral palsy. His wife and two children cheer him on from below, along with fans who have come to support his important mission. In 2002, Steve founded a camp for kids with disabilities, and his climb will be a testament to the idea that kids with disabilities can do anything which they set their minds.

When I Walk

Jason DaSilva / USA / English / 85 min / Official Website

In 2006, 25-year-old Jason DaSilva was on vacation at the beach with family when, suddenly, he fell down. He couldn’t get back up. His legs had stopped working; his disease could no longer be ignored.  Just a few months earlier doctors had told him that he had multiple sclerosis, which could lead to loss of vision and muscle control, as well as a myriad of other complications. Jason tried exercise to help cope, but the problem only worsened. After his dispiriting fall on the beach, he turned to his Mom, who reminded him that, despite his disease, he was still a fortunate kid who had the opportunity to pursue the things he loved most: art and filmmaking. Jason picked up the camera, turned it on his declining body, and set out on a worldwide journey in search of healing, self-discovery, and love.

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