ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest film festival in the county dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and achievements of people with various mental and physical disabilities. The third annual ReelAbilities: Houston Film Festival unfolded across the city February 8-12, 2015 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The key message of inclusion was expressed through film, art, photography, and various speakers. The events were experienced by over 5,000 festival attendees, almost half of which were students.
For the first time in three years, Jewish Family Services of Houston hired Sullivan Group to professionally promote, plan, manage and execute 17 screening, in 14 venues, in 5 days. In addition to coordinating and executing the logistics for each screening at each location, Sullivan Group coordinated the ticketing process and overall experience for over 30 corporate sponsors and 50 collaborating partners. Additionally, we managed over 100 volunteers and more than 30 speakers' stage presentation as well as travel and accommodations.
Our team as a whole had many objectives: to increase festival awareness and attendance via marketing, broaden the Houston festival's geographical footprint, entice more schools to attend or host screening for their students, continue to promote abilities, inclusion for all, and a barrier free world. Sullivan Group brought 25_ years of professional experience, resources, ideas and relationships to the event planning and execution process. The organization, execution and style of the events and screening were enhanced with our involvement.
This event was extremely distinctive and informative as it taught our team to analyze and re-evaluate certain patterns in planning events to accommodate accessibility. Each screening venue, discussion, and move accounted for attendees and speakers with hearing, sight, physical and mental disabilities. While ADA accessibility is an important logistical detail for any event, this is the first event we have produced where it has been the main focus.
Each individual screening was carefully evaluated and paired with an appropriate discussion with expanded on the message of the film just screened. Growing on this idea, our team suggested a closing event called UP Abilities, where all attendees had the opportunity to hear from 4 speakers with various disabilities who have changed lives around the world by spreading the message of inclusion. The buzz around this event was astonishing, and the audience left educated, challenged and inspired.
Over 91% of attendees reported their perceptions of people with disabilities changed by attending festival events!
Sullivan Groups is more than honored to have made a difference in the community through this festival, changing one perception at a time.