2014 Film Festival

October 17 & 18, 2014. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.

In its 11th year, the 2014 Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival continued its successful run as Texas’ premiere cinematic celebration of disability! Returning to the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar location, we packed the house for both nights October 17 &18.

A painting with swaths of yellow, purple-blue, and red paint sits on one of its corners in a director's chair.From the feature films to live auctions, every aspect of this year's Fest put a spotlight on artists with disabilities. Imagine Art donated pieces by a local painter with a disability (left), which we raffled off both nights to two lucky audience members. Plus, Portland-based friend of the Fest Cheryl Green submitted her own "Don't Talk!" video, which explains accessibility options for movie-goers and features actors who actually have the disabilities they portray. Check it out!

As always, we began our program both nights with our international Short Film Competition. First Place in the Documentary Division went to Stumped, a ten-minute film about an aspiring filmmaker who copes with the loss of his limbs through stand-up comedy. In A Strange Man, the young protagonist conflates his own life with scenes from popular movies. This short film from Turkey picked up audience favorite and First Place in the Non-documentary Division. Read all about the winners from this year’s Short Film Competition!

A little boy laughs and reaches his hand toward the camera while a dancer sitting in a wheelchair and spectators sitting farther back look on and smile.

Friday night, co-hosted by VSA Texas, our feature film was Musical Chairs (2011), a story of love, rehabilitation, and wheelchair ballroom dancing! Featuring actors and dancers with and without disabilities and directed by award-winning filmmaker Susan Seidelman, Musical Chairs is about the strength of the human spirit, love and compassion in the face of life’s adversities. Following the film, we auctioned off a beautiful Musical Chairs poster, signed by Seidelman plus co-stars Auti Angel and Laverne Cox! Congrats to the proud new owner of this one-of-a-kind piece of disability cinema memorabilia!

In conjunction with Friday’s feature film, Austin’s own mixed ability dance project Body Shift kicked off the Festival with a site-specific piece outside the Drafthouse entrance. Drafthouse visitors (both with the Fest and not) stopped to watch, and some couldn’t help joining in (right: Matt Masey cuts a rug)! Learn more about Body Shift and their upcoming performances and workshops at BodyShift.org.

A blond woman smiles happily and waves both hands at the camera.Saturday, the audience enjoyed the first episode of award winning web comedy series My Gimpy Life. The series is loosely based on creator and star Teal Sherer’s real life adventures as a disabled actor navigating Hollywood in a wheelchair. Teal Skyped in to give a special message to the audience and introduce her series (left). Top billing went to the critically acclaimed The Little Tin Man (2013). In this film, a struggling actor with dwarfism (newcomer Aaron Beelner) grows tired of being typecast and overlooked for “bigger” roles. With the help of his friends, he sets out to audition for the part of the Tin Man in Martin Scorsese's fictional remake of The Wizard of Oz.

A little man in a suit and an older man in a power chair grin excitedly at the camera.We were thrilled that Aaron traveled to Austin from his home in Atlanta to support CTD at the Fest. He and Fest Director William Greer spent the days leading up to the Fest giving interviews and drumming up great publicity. Check out Aaron on the Gene and Dave Show, filmed at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar! On Saturday, he introduced The Little Tin Man and held a lively Q&A with the audience. While we had to vacate the theater at 10 pm, audience members continued their conversations with Aaron at our after party at the High Ball (right, Aaron with CTD Board President Rodney Hanneman).

Cinema Touching Disability wouldn't have been such a success without the generous support from our 2014 Film Fest sponsors. We are also forever indebted to:

Thanks to everyone who attended the 11th Annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival! We had a blast and hope to see you again soon!

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