ReelAbilities Film Festival will transform into the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival in 2018, broadening its scope to move beyond disability-specific programming into a celebration of a broad spectrum of diversity.
The changes were announced at a Nov. 29 news conference featuring civic and corporate leaders and festival leadership.
The festival remains under the leadership of Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled, Susan Brownknight, CEO. Debra Pinger serves as festival managing director, assisted by Marvin Hawkins, strategic relations and Molly Lyons, LADD director of strategic relations.
Specific dates and venues for the festival will emerge as finalized, but events will move away from the Duke Energy Center and take place in locations in and around the Washington Park arts district, including Music Hall and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.
The new festival is intended to celebrate diversity at all levels, expanding to encompass identity, race, religion, and more.
Addressing the crowd, Alfonso Cornejo – president of our regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – commented: “I stand here with my colleagues to extend a welcome to this festival and pledge our partnership. We believe the Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival will play a major role in bringing our city together and we invite all of you to be a part of it in the months and years to come.”
Volunteer chairs for the new festival
Arlene Koth is vice president of administration and human resources at TriVersity Construction Group and has 18 years experience in human resources and organizational development. She serves as secretary of the Downtown Cincinnati Inc. board of directors and is a board member at the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, the YWCA and Cincinnati Works.
Kitty Strauss Rosenthal is the retired vice president at Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce where she served in various roles over 30 years. In March 2017, she co-chaired opening night for the ReelAbilities Film Festival. She has been the director of development for Film Cincinnati. She serves on the board of trustees for Chatfield College, Cincinnati Ballet and the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute.
Jon Sanchez is founder and CEO of Team Performance Institute, a leadership and team development organization. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he served as an officer on the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams. After his naval service, he transitioned to the finance industry. He serves as a board member for the Joseph House, the Anthony Munoz Foundation and Magnified Giving.
Scott Van Nice is an attorney and Cybersecurity: Digital Forensics and eDiscovery professional with Procter & Gamble, where he built P&G’s electronic discovery and computer forensics service and manages insider risk investigations. He also serves on the P&G People with Disabilities Leadership Team. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati, teaching “Legal Rights for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing,” and teaches at Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Northern Kentucky University and University of the Cumberlands. He served on the Cincinnati 2017 ReelAbilities Accommodations Committee.
In addition, Opal H. Bennett joins the festival to curate the film program, which will present fictional and documentary films about freedom, identity, diversity, faith and disability. Currently she manages the film and screenplay submissions for the Nantucket Film Festival. She is an associate programmer at the DOCNYC Film Festival in New York City, and has served on the programming teams for Sundance London, Athena and Tribeca Film Festivals.