DisFest Presents Short Films At Cultural Center Event

A half-dozen shorts will screen continuously at the Cultural Center during DisFest, a free and accessible celebration of artists and performers with disabilities, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 22. Ranging from 90 seconds to 19 minutes in length, the films are part of a lineup that also includes Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s story, Just Ask!

A number of visual art and performance art pieces, as well as interactive activities, will complete the scheduled events.

DisFest is a program organized by ReinventAbility, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that “enlightens perceptions of disability while inspiring joy and improving lives!” It was introduced in 2022 along with an expanded effort “to bring improved inclusion of students with disabilities to the Chicago Public School System.”

ReinventAbility traces its roots back to 2013, when Chicago-based dancer, teaching artist and founder Ladonna Freidheim received a DCASE Individual Artist Award “for the development of an adapted dance program including a Dance Party Workshop for teens with disabilities.” Since then, the organization has not only grown to host weekly disability dance classes but has also earned several grants, gained local television exposure and sponsored a wheelchair dancer in the premiere of Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story.



JMAXX and The Universal Language (19 min)
Directed by Ryan Mayers
Jarell is teenager with autism who has learned to use hip-hop dance as a means to communicate his true self to the world.

A Critter Fable (7 min)
by Grace Fisher
Winner for “best score” and “most inspirational” at 2021 Los Angeles Film Shorts, internationally acclaimed “A Critter Fable” tells the story of classically trained pianist and cellist Grace Fisher, who, following an illness, discovered a penchant for composition and creative avenues for musical expression.

Just Ask! (7:29 min)
Written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Children with all different abilities come together to plant a beautiful garden, featuring pictures by award-winning Illustrator Rafael Lopez.

A Memory Of Joy (5 min)
Liz Sung Productions, Choreography/concept by Robby Lee Williams
A joyful and poignant memory meaningfully experienced through art and movement.

Push, Pull, Entangle (4 min)
Presented by MOMENTA Dance Company, Choreographed by Connor Cornelius, Directed by Sarah Najera, Filmed and edited by Joe Kreml, Music by Patrick Watson.
A duet in disagreement explores expression and manipulation through marionette- style choreography.

Lost In The Woods (2:24 min)
Gaelynn Lea
The 2016 winner of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest has been captivating audiences around the world with haunting original songs and traditional fiddle tunes that she has also played as opening act the Wilco, The Decemberists, Pigface and more.

ReinventAbility (1.5 min)
ReinventAbility enlightens perceptions of disability and inspires joy for all of us who seek a more universally accessible and inclusive future.

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