EXCLUSIVE: NBCUniversal, CBS, Walt Disney Studios, 21st Century Fox and SAG-AFTRA are among the latest Hollywood-based groups to sign on to sponsor the ReelAbilities Film Festival: Los Angeles, set for October 11-14 around the city. The festival is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different abilities.

ReelAbilities Film Festival Los Angeles

The event will showcase new and classic films, conversations and artistic programs and kicks off with Chloé Zhao’s opening-night film The Rider, which won the top Directors’ Fortnight prize at Cannes in 2017 (Zhao has since booked a directing gig for Marvel’s The Eternals). It’s playing at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood.

The fest closes with Len Collin’s Sanctuary, with special screenings set for Leslie McCleave’s 2015 documentary How Sweet the Sound: The Blind Boys of Alabama and Hungary’s 2016 Oscar submission Kills on Wheels among others.

The fest, founded in New York in 2007 and making its first appearance in Los Angeles, has also added sponsors including L.A. City Council president Herb Wesson and councilmember Gilbert Cedillo. Other industry groups already aboard include the WGA, Laemmle Theatres and the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center as entertainment companies continue to seek out more diverse content and voices to better represent the audiences they’re trying to capture.

“Universal is proud to partner with ReelAbilities in their efforts to drive awareness and create access for talent with disabilities in all areas of production,” said Janine Jones-Clark, SVP, Global Talent Development & Inclusion, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which also just launched its 2018 writers program. “There couldn’t be a more opportune time for ReelAbilities to bring their film festival to Los Angeles, as our studio, and the industry at large, are looking for exciting opportunities to discover and collaborate with artists from this rich pool of talent.”

Said Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, EVP Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at CBS: “CBS Entertainment Diversity & Inclusion is thrilled to be partnering with ReelAbilities to celebrate the important platform they provide for talented artists to showcase their stories to the world. The access and opportunity that this festival offers is vital in ensuring inclusivity for all artists with different abilities.

More info here.