THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Maggie Gyllenhaal’s ‘Best Summer Ever’ Musical to Open ReelAbilities Film Festival (Exclusive)

By Etan Vlessing

The 13th edition to run from April 29 to May 5 will close with Nicholas Bruckman’s documentary ‘Not Going Quietly’ and honor famed classical violinist Itzhak Pearlman.

The ReelAbilities Film Festival is set to open with Michael Parks Randa and Lauren Smitelli’s inclusive musical romancer Best Summer Ever, executive produced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ted Danson, Amy Brenneman, and Mary Steenburgen.

Gyllenhaal, Sarsgaard and Benjamin Bratt have cameo roles in the feature shot with a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities. Best Summer Ever, which also stars Shannon DeVido, Ricky Wilson Jr., MuMu, Jacob Waltuck, Emily Kranking, Ajani “AJ” Murray, Eileen Grubba and Holly Palmer, will screen on April 29 at the Queens Drive-In.

And the 13th edition of ReelAbilities, to run to May 5 in New York City, will close with Not Going Quietly, Nicholas Bruckman’s documentary about ALS-struck health care activist Ady Barkan that bowed at SXSW.

Besides honoring classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, ReelAbilities has also booked Chandler Evans and Sachi Cunningham’s Crutch, about a famed breakdancer and skateboarder on crutches; Sergio Morkin’s Maricarmen, a portrait of a blind cello player, writer and marathon runner; and Ignacio Márquez’ The Special, a coming-of-age tale about a charming young man with Down syndrome.

The annual New York festival celebrating the creative expression of people with disabilities plans a hybrid festival with a drive-in screening, virtual screenings and live Q+As. The 2021 festival also plans film screenings at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, the Jacob Burns Film Center, Maysles Cinema and other partner cinemas across the city.

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