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Houston and diversity are inextricably linked, making it the perfect backdrop for the fifth annual ReelAbilities: Houston Film and Arts Festival this February 16–23. The celebrated (and free!) event returns to the Bayou City to present prolific programing, like speaker series, film screenings and exhibits, that use the arts as an anchor to educate and change perceptions about people with disabilities.

Fifteen films will be screened at Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 from February 19–February 23, featuring discussions with filmmakers to explore the subjects depicted in the films. Don't miss Enter the Faun (Feb 19), which partnered with the Houston Ballet to screen the captivating story about a veteran choreographer and a young actor with Cerebral palsy as they prove that every body is capable of miraculous transformations. 

Besides films, music and lectures will also be major attractions to this year's celebration. ReelMusic, an all-inclusive jazz and blues concert at The Secret Group, hosts professional musicians performing alongside artists with disabilities on February 23 from 6–8 p.m.

ReelPeople: UPAbilities brings a series of intellectually-stimulating discussions to Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. This year, the lectures focus on the impact video games have on individuals with varying levels of abilities. Speakers include Henry Evans, a 40-year-old quadriplegic and mute who collaborates with robotic teams to develop tools to help the severely disabled, and Elise Roy, a deaf lawyer, artist and human rights activist.

“The impact that ReelAbilities Houston has on the lives of Houstonians is immeasurable,” says event chair Vikki Evans. “Even if you don’t live with a disability yourself, you’ve probably interacted with someone dealing with a disability that you may not fully understand or know how to interact with. It is our mission at ReelAbilities to challenge the way people think about disabilities, and to encourage Houstonians to take action–treating each other with more respect and compassion than ever before.”  

ReelAbilites Houston

Feb 16–Feb 23. All events are free, but some require registration. Disability accommodations are available at all locations. For lineups and events, visit reelabilitieshouston.org or call (713) 667-9336 

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