Reelabilities Festival Makes Access An Even Bigger Priority

KULKARNI1: Today’s the debut of reelability’s film’s shorts at its eighth annual New York festival.
[ambi of clapping]
KULKARNI2: Access is at the core of the festival, so this year it’s expanding to over 30 venues from Staten Island to the Bronx. But access doesn’t just mean getting to the theatre. It also affects your experience once you’re inside.
A little bit of scrambling to our first pitch called the briggs slab where we roped up for about 60 feet of slab climbing.
KULKARNI3: That’s a clip from Grand Pursuit, one of the films debuting at today’s festival. The documentary follows a single leg-amputee on his ascent of the grand teton mountains. But here is another version
EP: He moves beside a large rock and stands his form black against the sky as the sun winks below the horizon
KULKARNI4: Even though they’re both descriptions of the same movie, the two clips sound pretty different. But director Ravit Turjeman says, the second clip is for the visually impaired.
RT: When we started the festival we never thought that the visually impaired and blind community might have interest in film
KULKARNI5: Turjeman says an actors in a previous festival helped her realize there is an interest.
RT: One of our protagonists was blind. And he never saw the film. That was about his life.
KULKARNI6: Turns out, if you can’t see what’s happening on screen, just hearing a film’s dialogue doesn’t capture the full experience — a change in scenery, a moment of reflection without narration might be missing.
MS: I narrate movies for the blind — I paint the picture with words.
KULKARNI7: That’s Michelle spitz one of the audio narrators at this years festival. And whatever pictures Spitz and the rest of the festival as a whole are painting are a hit. At least Rita Romonowski thinks so. She has a daughter with intellectual disabilities and came all the way from Mexico to see the screening.
RR : Wonderful you know it creates awareness. So everybody gets to have the same opportunities as everyone in the society.
KULKARNI9: And there’s one new opportunity for the deaf and hard of hearing this year too — live interpreters at each film screening. Reelabilities says changes like these are to make reel access possible for all film-goers. Isabella Kulkarni, Columbia Radio News.
Sound: music

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