Festival Features Films By Disabled

Staff Writer

The Central Queens Y is giving filmmakers a platform they may not normally get elsewhere.

The Reelabilities Film Festival showcases movies that were made by people with disabilities or is related to an issue affecting those with a disability. The festival will take place March 9-10 at CQY’s headquarters in Forest Hills.

Now in its sixth year of its existence, the festival has served as an outlet to discuss how life is like for someone with a disability and to dispel many misconceptions people may have about disabled people.

Among the films being shown this year is “Stand Clear of The Closing Doors” about a 13-year-old boy with autism who runs away from his family and gets lost while riding the subway. The movie’s plot is eerily similar to what happened to Avonte Oquendo earlier this year, one of the main reasons the film was chosen for the festival, according to Jeri Mendelson, the CEO of the Central Queens Y and the Samuel Field Y in Bayside.

Mendelson said the number one cause of death for people of autism is related to wandering away from where they should be, and this movie gives perspective to that case.

Members of the cast will attend Sunday’s screening and discuss the film after its conclusion. They will also take questions from the audience in attendance.

Another movie to be shown next week is “Gabrielle,” about a woman with Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects many parts of the body and affects a person’s ability to learn, who must confront prejudice she faces daily and deal with complications in her relationship with her boyfriend.

Mendelson said the film shows how challenging it can be for someone who has a disability.

“When people look at a person with a developmental disability, they may not think they would have feelings like any other person would,” she said.

Tickets for the event are $5 for members of the Central Queens Y and $8 for non-members. Coffee and light refreshments will be available during each film. The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108th Street in Forest Hills. For more information, call the CQY at (718) 268-5011 ext. 151.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.