AFI fest focus on disabilities

Perspectives skedded from July 24-27 at the ArcLight

The American Film Institute has joined forces with the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center — a nonprofit community service center for people with developmental disabilities — to launch an international film festival in an effort to further the understanding and inclusion of people with disabilities.

Fest, dubbed Perspectives, is skedded from July 24-27 at the ArcLight in Hollywood.

Perspectives, designed to “challenge perceptions, expand awareness and create a body of common experience,” will unspool an array of domestic and international narrative features, docus and shorts that depict the lives of people with developmental disabilities. Oldies such as “My Left Foot” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” are included in the pic lineup. For a schedule, visit www.afi.com.

All screenings will be followed by a moderated discussion in the form of a town hall style meeting, a panel discussion or a lively conversation with an expert.

In addition, William H. Macy will be feted on closing night with the fest’s inaugural Perspectives Media Award, given to an individual in the media who has advanced the cause of understanding and social acceptance by creating sensitive and accurate images of the disabled. Macy’s work in the TNT telepic “Door to Door” led to thesp’s non-acting role as ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy.

“Film has always been an avenue for opening eyes to experiences that enrich us and make us able to understand life from another point of view,” said Christian Gaines, director of festivals at AFI.

“Despite all the progress we have made in terms of improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families, the one thing they tell us they value the most and find the least is social acceptance and inclusion,” added Lanterman executive director Diane Anand. “Perspectives is the beginning of an ongoing educational effort to change that.”

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