Seinfeld star Danny Woodburn previews 'Reelabilities Film Festiv - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Seinfeld star Danny Woodburn previews 'Reelabilities Film Festival'

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What is the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival?

Organized by LADD, our Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival presented by Macy's is our region's largest film festival with a unique purpose of bringing people together to explore differences and our shared humanity. We are expecting thousands to participate in our eight day event running from February 27 to March 7, 2015. It will include our Premiere Weekend Kick Off Celebration Luncheon, Mingle With The Stars Gala and After Party With Soulpocket, as well as over 30 film screening, speaking and other events with Festival film VIPs. Each of our film screening events is hosted by and will benefit a local nonprofit organization whose work enriches the lives of people with disabilities. To see our list of nonprofit agencies, please visit our beneficiary page: )

Is this just a local Festival or is it national?

Nationally, the ReelAbilities Film Festival was founded in 2007 in New York City and has spread to 13 cities across the US. Cincinnati was the first city in the nation to host the festival outside of New York and now hosts the second largest festival nationwide, second only to New York. In 2014, the festival's national headquarters moved to Cincinnati where it is being managed by nonprofit Living Arrangements for Developmentally Disabled (LADD), Inc. All of the films screened at each of the Festivals share the lives, stories and art of people who experience disabilities.

Where will the Festival be held?

We will be in many parts of our Cincinnati area. Our Premiere Weekend Corporate Awards Luncheon and Red Carpet Gala will be held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown. We will be holding film screenings at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Kenwood and Esquire Theatres, Cincinnati Museum Center, Great American Ball Park, Taylor High School, and the Contemporary Arts Center. Our VIP guests will also be participating in a variety of speaking and other engagements throughout the city.

Academy and Golden Globe Award Winning Actress Marlee Matlin will be the keynote speaker at the Premiere Weekend Corporate Awards Luncheon. What is her message for Cincinnati?

29 years ago, Marlee made history as the youngest actress ever and the only deaf person to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Children of a Lesser God in 1986. Since then, she has gone on to an incredible career with recurring roles in many television shows, earning her a Golden Globe as Best Actress in a Drama and several additional nominations, and four Emmy nominations.

Marlee continues to raise the bar, changing perceptions and attitudes about people who experience life differently including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. She was last in Cincinnati for the national tour of Dancing with the Stars. "I did that despite the fact that some people thought I couldn't dance because I couldn't hear. I CAN and DID, and that is what I love about coming back to Cincinnati for ReelAbilities. CAN - DO - ABILITIES - DREAMS. That is what it is about for me and I cannot wait to meet everyone there and share my story," she said.

What other VIPs will be joining her to kick off the Film Festival?

Drew Lachey, Gala emcee

Richard Bernstein, Michigan Supreme Court justice

Nick and Nina Clooney, Nick is a former Local 12 News Anchor and well known personality

Teddy Kremer, Cincinnati Reds honorary bat boy Daryl Chill Mitchell, actor with current recurring role on NCIS New Orleans Kevin Pearce, former U.S. snowboarding champion and star of The Crash Reel Michael Schlitz, retired U.S. Army ranger and Purple Heart recipient

Danny Woodburn, actor and comedienne honored with Screen Actors Guild Harold Russell Award Kurt Yaeger, actor on Sons of Anarchy and more

What other VIPs will be here during the Festival?

Milan Chakraborty, producer of Where Hope Grows

David DeSanctis, actor in film Where Hope Grows

Rick Guidotti, founder of Positive Exposure and world renowned photographer

Justin LeBlanc, Project Runway (just voted off Project Runway All Stars)

Kathy Leichter, director, Here One Day about her and her family's story, and the impact of mental illness

Ross McKenzie, star of film Bipolarized about his life with bipolar disorder, story about medication

SSG Travis Mills, one of five quadruple amputees from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Michael Schlitz, purple heart recipient and retired United States Army Ranger

Steve Wampler, star of Wampler's Ascent and only man with cerebral palsy to have climbed El Capitan

Is this the first year for the Festival? How has it grown?

In what will be our third Festival here in Cincinnati, we have quadrupled in size and grown to be the second largest of the ReelAbilities Film Festivals nationwide. Our national Festival has become so well respected that we had more than 500 films submitted from across the globe to be juried

How has the Cincinnati community embraced the ReelAbilities Film Festival?

We have accomplished this because of how our entire region has supported our cause. We have succeeded at bringing together government, academia, the business and arts community, as well as social service to celebrate our region's diversity and our shared humanity. Greater Cincinnati's top employers are recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in recruiting and retaining strong workforces. Additionally, what is exciting is how nationally and internationally recognized big screen stars are reaching out to us, wanting to come to Cincinnati and participate in our celebration.

We are running a social media campaign - #DifferentLikeYou in celebrating differences in our community, highlight the unique stories of individuals. U.C. President Santa Ono posted a #DifferentLikeYou quote that said, "I used to stutter and had a phobia of public speaking". He shared his story on Facebook and we have it in our blog on our website. He wrote that he came from an immigrant family who only spoke Japanese at home, and he could not differentiate between the sound of L and R. Santa wrote he is proud that Cincinnati is hosting a major film festival around disabilities. Link to story:

What is the cost to attend the Festival?

We have many different ticket packages with prices beginning at $10 for a film screening. Please visit our Events page for our complete list of Festival activities. You won't want to miss being a part of our Festival!

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