ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto 2020

The 5th Annual Toronto
ReelAbilities Film Festival
12 Films plus Q&As, Workshops and Events Online

ReelAbilities Film Festival is proud to announce the full schedule for the 5th Anniversary Festival, which has moved online for 2020. From May 20 – 24, 2020, ReelAbilities Film Festival will showcase Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto
May 20 – 24, 2020
Online screenings via JW Player
All screenings are free, with suggested donation

Full Schedule Available Now at

• All films will screen with open captioning
• Select films will screen with audio description as an option
• All workshops, panels, and post-film discussions will feature live captioning and ASL

Registration will be through EventBrite; tickets to all screenings and events are available for free, with the option to pay-what-you-can and/or make a donation. An email will be sent to all registrants 30 minutes before start time, with the link and password to the screening/event and to the post-film Q&A (where applicable). / /

Presented by:
Miles Nadal JCC, Government of Canada, Government of Ontario
P&L Odette Foundation, Toronto Arts Council
Media Sponsors:
Accessible Media Inc, Mohawk College, AI-Media

Join us as we celebrate the launch of the 5th annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: Toronto (and 1st ever virtually-presented festival), dedicated to showcasing Disability and Deaf cultures through film.

ReelAbilities Toronto is proud to present the feature film ‘Code of the Freaks’, preceded by a short film ‘Tragically Deaf’!

Dir. Maxx Corkindale | Australia | 3 mins | Short Film

Paul is having a great day. He has a loving family, a good job, and enjoys life to the fullest. It’s a pity that the documentary crew following him doesn’t seem to see that…

Dir. Salome Chasnoff | United States | 68 mins | Narrative

Referencing the beloved and equally controversial cult classic Freaks (1932), this illuminating documentary from Salome Chasnoff explores the evolving century-long legacy of disability representation in Hollywood through meaningful reflections from disabled critics, activists and film lovers.

Thank you to our co-presenting community partners
• Deaf Spectrum
• Tangled Art + Disability
• Centre for Independent Living in Toronto – CILT Inc.
• Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

Q&A with the filmmakers of Code of the Freaks to follow the screening.

ACCESS FEATURES at this screening:
• Open Captioning
• Audio description available
• ASL and CART available for all Q&As

For more information or accessibility requests/questions, email

In order to offer financial accessibility for this year’s festival, we are offering three tiers of Pay-What-You-Can tickets: $25, $10, and FREE. Please choose whichever ticket type you are comfortable with! The option to make a custom donation is also available!

Note: Registrants will receive links and passwords to the screening (and the following Q&A) 30 minutes before the scheduled screening start time; screenings will use JW Player and Q&As will use Zoom. Please ensure you have registered for the screening before its start time.

Please note: The films will be available to stream for 24 hours after the screening start time.

April 21, 2020 – Please include in your announcements and listings

The 5th Annual Toronto
ReelAbilities Film Festival
Goes Online!

Seven Feature Films, Eight Shorts and more!

ReelAbilities Film Festival returns for its 5th Anniversary with a twist – now it’s all online! From May 20 – 24, 2020 ReelAbilities Film Festival will showcase Canadian and International shorts, features, and documentaries about Deaf and disability cultures and by filmmakers and actors with disabilities and/or who are Deaf.

ReelAbilities Film Festival traditionally offers film screenings, artist Q&As, workshops, and events in various venues across Toronto, but in 2020 ReelAbilities will present over 15 film screenings, panels, workshops and events via interactive online presentations.

We are thrilled to bring ReelAbilities online – where we can reach even more people. We’re excited to showcase amazing films and the creativity of disability and Deaf cultures. We’re pleased that we can continue to host important conversations, highlight and convene fantastic filmmakers, directors, actors and writers, and provide a platform for learning about accessible media,” said Liviya Mendelsohn, Artistic Director of ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto.

Highlights from the 5th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival include the following films: Code of the Freaks, a blistering critique of Hollywood representations of disabled characters; Kupenda, where three determined teenagers set out to challenge their community’s long-held stigma against disability and climb Mount Kilimanjaro; Sock Guys, a peek inside a business owned and operated by a young man with Down Syndrome and his father, where people with intellectual disabilities work alongside their neurotypical colleagues; and From My Side of the Spectrum, the winner of the first ever Sandra Carpenter ReelAbilities Toronto Film Festival Student Film Award by 16 year old student filmmaker Aiden Lee.

We are delighted to celebrate the fifth year anniversary of the ReelAbilities Film Festival virtually. This year’s fantastic selection of films spans globally and brings forth stories from Deaf and disability communities that offer thought-provoking cultural critiques, feature the outstanding achievements of our communities, and revel in our vibrant lives. Now more than ever, in this trying and isolating time, it is vital to have welcoming forums like ReelAbilities that make space for us to come together, partake in enriching discussions and collectively enjoy the remarkable artistic contributions of these filmmakers,” said Linda Luarasi, ReelAbilities juror.

Full programming for ReelAbilities Film Festival will be announced shortly. Additional events including the ReelAbilities Comedy Night, ReelDance, and ReelEducation matinees have been postponed until late 2020.

ReelAbilities Film Festival was established in New York in 2007. In 2016, it crossed the border into Canada as ReelAbilities Film Festival: Toronto, making it the first international chapter of the Festival.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto
May 20 – 24, 2020

Full schedule to be announced soon / /

ReelAbilities Film Festival Funders: National Accessibility Awareness Week, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, Toronto Arts Council, Odette Family Foundation.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Sponsors: AMI Media

Media Contact: Damien Nelson,

Scene from Kupenda

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