900 Auraria Parkway
Denver, Colorado 80204


(Denver) VSA Arts/Access Gallery and Studio in partnership with PHAMALY is pleased to present Reel Access – Real Lives, an inaugural film festival featuring the lives and artistic expressions of artists living with disabilities at the Starz FilmCenter on Saturday May 22, 2010.
Reel Access – Real Lives is a one-day film festival featuring six films that explore artistic genres and celebrate the power of artistic pursuit. History reveals that for artists with disabilities, many academic prospects, inclusion in gallery and museum exhibitions and performance opportunities were extremely limited. For these artists, their creative expressions were marginalized and even ignored by critics and dismissed by the creative community that did not consider them seriously as artists. Drawing upon their strengths, these artists open a new dialog creating awareness of issues that transcend the stereotypes that have been applied to them.
Ticket Prices (per screening) are $9.75 adults, $7 seniors, students (with ID), film society members, phamaly company members, and Access Gallery artists. $18 Festival Package includes all screenings and festival reception. Discussions led by gallery artists, filmmakers, and the artists themselves will be held throughout the day.

For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://www.denverfilm.org/filmcenter/detail.aspx?id=23225 or in person at the Starz FilmCenter box office. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.phamaly.org or www.accessgallery.org

Reel Access – Real Lives is presented by VSA arts Colorado and PHAMALY – The Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artists League. Funding for the festival is provided by the SCFD Tier III Denver County Cultural Council.

Schedule and synopsis of films:

2:00pm - Life. Support. Music. (79 min.) - Preceded by Phoenix Dance (22 min.) - TRT = 101 min

4:00pm - Heavy Load (90 min.) - Preceded by Ways on Wheels (14 min) - TRT = 104 min.

6:00 – 7:30 – Festival reception

7:30pm - There’s Still Hope for Dreams, a PHAMALy Story (71 min.) - Preceded by Access Denied (30 min.) - TRT = 101 min.

Film Synopsis:

Phoenix Dance

Renowned dancer Homer Avila lost his right leg and most of his hip to cancer. Following the creation of a “pas de deux” choreographed by Alonzo King, “Phoenix Dance” takes us on a journey of transformation and healing, challenging our expectations of what it means to be “disabled.”

Life. Support. Music.

In 2004, Jason Crigler's life was taking off. He was one of New York's hottest young guitarists, his new CD was due for release and his wife, Monica, was pregnant with their first child. Then, at a gig in Manhattan, Jason suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage. His doctors doubted he would ever emerge from his near-vegetative state. The astonishing journey that followed, documented by friend and filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar, is a stirring family saga and a portrait of creative struggle in the face of overwhelming tragedy. http://www.lifesupportmusic.org/

Heavy Load

British punk band, Heavy Load, is much like any other except that three of the five band mates have a learning disability - but it's not disabilities that define them. The bands' survival is a precarious negotiation between two different worlds: on the one hand, the institutional timetable of day centers, work placements and social workers, on the other the chaotic slacker life of rehearsal rooms, studios and gigs. Home life and band-life, from invisibility to stardom of a sort, and back again. Shot over two years as the band record their first album, the film is a comedy of conflicting ambitions, as the band move out of the ghetto of disability club nights to test whether their dreams can survive in the mainstream. Winner of Britdoc Audience Award 2008. http://www.heavyloadthemovie.com/

Ways on Wheels

His Name is Ways and he was once a fast moving outlaw artist – a hit and run gambler on the BC graffiti scene. But a police chase and a horrific car crash ended his winning streak and left him a quadriplegic. Many see graffiti as an unwanted presence in our cities, but Ways now sees it as a reason to live – and ‘Ways on Wheels’ brings his story to light. It’s a film about tragedy and hope, contrition and redemption. It’s about committing crimes in the name of art, and finding humanity in the process. http://waysonwheelsmovie.com/

Access Denied

“Dyslexia:” the term alone signals disability, disorder, discomfort. But for visual artist and Teacher Eric McGehearty, dyslexia is not a disability alone; it is also a way of encoding the world. In Leah Bell’s Access Denied: The Life and Work of Erich McGehearty, we see a person who asks questions about the way we communicate with one another, who uses his own experience with dyslexia to generate visually compelling ideas through sculpture.

There's Still Hope for Dreams - A PHAMALY Story

In Denver Colorado, there is a theatre company unique to the world called PHAMALY (Physically Handicapped Actors & Musical Artist League). The group, comprised entirely of actors with disabilities, exists for one purpose and one purpose only – performance. Shows that were originally choreographed for people who can move both feet and arms, dance freely across the stage, who can see, hear, and talk, take on new meeting this company. Actors with Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy, blindness, spinal cord injuries, amputations, and many other disabilities who would not otherwise have a chance to perform on stage, have an opportunity to showcase their talents through PHAMALY. PHAMALY has crossed bridges, destroyed barriers and defied all odds in the theatrical world while performing major musicals written and created for performers without disabilities. http://www.theresstillhopefordreams.com/

Press photos and interview opportunities are available. Please contact Melanie Mayner [email protected]

Added by GS on May 9, 2010

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