When considering accessibility, the first things that might come to mind center on physical accessibility — but as the second annual ReelAbilities Film Festival Denver proves, it can also include creative and communal accessibility.
“The goal is to provide a space where films by, about and for people with disabilities can be shown,” explained Jenna Gragg, festival coordinator at the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center. “Beyond that, we want to provide a space for people who want to be advocates for the disabled community.”
The second annual Colorado-based ReelAbilities Film Festival offers two options for potential audiences: in-person in Denver and Boulder, from Wednesday, Aug. 24 through Sunday, Aug. 28, and virtually, from Aug. 24 through Wednesday, Aug. 31. The in-person screenings will be at the JCC Mizel Arts and Culture Center, 350 S. Dahlia St. in Denver and the Boulder JCC, 6007 Oreg Ave. in Boulder.
Opening night at the Mizel Arts and Culture Center will be held at 6 p.m. on the 24th at 6 p.m. with a free reception and community resource fair before the screening of the film, “The Specials.”
The festival includes nine films showing in-person and 13 films that can be accessed virtually, along with supplemental programming and question-and-answer sessions, according to provided information. And organizers have worked hard to ensure that all attendees are comfortable.
“We’re a welcoming place for people with mobility issues and want to be a place where any can come and feel welcome,” Gragg said. “Nobody will be judged for who they are — they’re just encouraged to come and watch a film.”
Some of the features specifically implemented for the festival include open captions and audio descriptions for the films, ASL interpretation for all in-person spoken content (with auto-captioning available for live-streamed content) and a sliding scale for ticket prices.
Films that are participating this year include “Imperfect,” which centers on Denver’s Phamaly Theatre Company’s production of the classic musical “Chicago,” and “Only I Can Hear,” a documentary about children of deaf adults in the Midwest. Like at any film festival, many of the screenings will host screenings with people involved in the filmmaking process.
“I hope everybody who attends sees the festival as an opportunity to build community,” Gragg said. “There are some truly wonderful films that will provide the chance for people with disabilities to share their stories and those who don’t have disabilities to open their eyes to this world. We’re really excited to see the festival grow and hope community members help us grow it.”
For more information and tickets, visit jccdenver.org/reelabilities.
Have a rugby weekend at Infinity Park
Rugby is not a sport many people get to see played well, but those interested in the sport will have a great opportunity at the 10th Annual RugbyTown Sevens Tournament, running from Friday, Aug. 19 through Sunday, Aug. 21. The event will be held at Infinity Park, 950 S. Birch St. in Glendale.
In addition to watching 20 rugby teams play, attendees can play at the free arcade, sample some delicious food trucks and more. According to provided information, participating teams will come from Germany, South Africa, Israel, United Kingdom, Barbados and five US military branches. All will be playing 15-minute games with two seven-minute halves, with the goal of winning $10,000.
Get all the pertinents at https://rugbytown7s.com/.
Summer Scream returns to Lakeside
I’d be hard pressed to think of a better venue in the entire state of Colorado to spend a summer evening than Lakeside Amusement Park. Which makes Denver Film’s decision to host the Summer Scream fundraiser at the park absolutely genius.
And now, after a two-year hiatus, Summer Scream is back on at Lakeside, 4601 Sheridan Blvd. in Denver, at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25. The event will feature open bars, unlimited rides, live music by DJ Bella Scratch and an immersive experience through the history of Lakeside.
More information and tickets can be found at https://denverfilm.eventive.org/schedule.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Kendrick Lamar at Ball Arena
Kendrick Lamar is one of those artists we just don’t get enough of. It took five years between his Pulitzer-Prize winning album, “DAMN.” and his long-awaited return back in May with “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers,” and that’s simply too long. But now that he’s back, he’s provided a work deep and rich enough to spend months parsing through.
After such a long absence, Lamar is taking his stellar catalogue on the road with The Big Steppers Tour, which is stopping at Ball Arena, 1000 Chopper Circle in Denver, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. He’ll be joined by Baby Keem and Tanna Leone. I saw Lamar on his last tour and man alive, does he deliver.
Get tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.
Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.