Meet The Team

Meet The Team – Carolee Stanmar, Planning Committee Member

Meet The TeamI’m a techie and trekkie. I love technology and Star Trek (the prime universe not the JJ Abrams universe). I also love most forms of science fiction ( horror is not science fiction). As a child of the eighties, I have a fondness for watching movies like The Princess Bride, Big, and the original Ghostbusters. Thank goodness for Netflix, Hulu, and Chromecast!

As an urban hermit, I prefer watching movies at home rather than going to the movie theater. The only exception of course is when I’m watching the latest sci-fi blockbuster.

I love living in Chicago because in the Spring and Summer I can get my fill of pop culture conventions. Through the conventions, I have met a cornucopia of celebrities from Supergirl to Back To The Future and others.

When I’m not watching movies, I’m a volunteer for Illinois Spina Bifida Association.

– Carolee Stanmar, Planning Committee Member

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Andrew Weiler

Meet The Team – Andrew Weiler, Planning Committee Member

 

Andrew WeilerAfter graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Film and Digital Media I was accepted into Kartemquin Films’ internship program in Chicago. My transition to the midwest began in Fall 2016 and has opened up a world of opportunity for storytelling. Storytelling is at the core of community. It illuminates our commonalities and can spark collective action.

Chicago has demonstrated to me that through community action most social, political, or cultural issues can be addressed. Hence, following my internship at Kartemquin I pursued opportunities to tell stories as a means to creating empathy and progressive change. First, I independently produced a short documentary about former President of the United States Barack Obama’s farewell address titled “Liberty Farewell”. Secondly, I joined the ReelAbilities Film Festival planning committee as a marketing and social media coordinator.

Both opportunities have absorbed me into communities which have embraced me for who I am. I will continue to make documentaries and support ReelAbilities because I feel apart of something communal and which inspires me to grow personally, professionally, and creatively.

– Andrew Weiler, Planning Committee Meeting

WATCH: “Liberty Farewell” (World Premiere) Friday April 28, 2017 at 12AM CST via facebook live by following @libertyfarewell (Facebook and Twitter )

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

 

Justin Cooper

Meet The Team – Justin Cooper, Planning Committee Member

Justin CooperI am a black artist, filmmaker, and disability advocate. Five years ago, the lack of representation of people with disabilities in media motivated me to work on my own documentary film called The Wheelchair Chronicles. Through that journey, I’ve met so many artists and filmmakers with disabilities who felt the same way I did about the lack of representation and were telling their own stories, and were coming up with their own ideas on what a film should be like.

That five-year journey shaped me as the person that I am today and has shaped the way I see visual media. It’s important for people with disabilities to share their stories through visual media with the world because often times our voices aren’t heard. Whether we’re in front of the camera or behind the scenes, our voices demand to heard.

I am pleased to be working with the ReelAbilities Film Festival and I am thrilled to be working with such talented men and women during the planning process.

– Justin Cooper, Planning Committee Member

Justin Cooper earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media Studies from DePaul University in 2013. Justin is currently a member of Access Living (a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully-engaged and self-directed lives), a member of Access Living’s Young Professionals Council, and is a member of 3Arts (an organization that supports artists of color, women artists, and artists with disabilities).

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Charlie Kassler

Meet The Team – Charlie Kessler, Planning Committee Member

Charlie Kassler

 

Charlie Kessler works as a freelance production assistant and editor in Chicago. Charlie was introduced to RAFF Chicago Co-Director Matt Lauterbach during an internship at Kartemquin Films. Matt encouraged Charlie to join the planning committee after they discovered a common interest in media accessibility.

Having an older brother with autism and two aunts with visual impairments has placed accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of Charlie and his family’s lives. Witnessing firsthand the difficulty to ensure proper assistance and social services for his brother drives Charlie to advocate and take action to support him.

Charlie has also witnessed his aunts graduate college while navigating employment, transportation, and forefronting the design of accessible tools. His aunts have inspired Charlie to challenge status quos and to see possibility in anything you set your mind to.

By collaborating with ReelAbilities, Charlie hopes to make a positive impact on the disability community by combining his passions for film and creating inclusive opportunities.

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Lauren Kalinoski

Meet The Team – Lauren Kalinoski, Planning Committee Member

Lauren Kalinoski

I am a Biomedical Illustrator at UIC’s Department of Ophthalmology. Growing up in a very creative household, I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. In school I also developed a strong interested in anatomy, health, and science. Combining these interests as a medical illustrator allows me to translate research information into visuals. I’m also very interested in using illustration and design to translate and impart other information, such as information regarding current social issues.

I first became interested in disability advocacy through a previous job, where I worked with Reveca on several projects. The organization — a health and science-centric museum — premiered BACKBONE’s Reinventing the Wheel photo exhibit. Continuing the partnership, Reveca and BACKBONES collaborated with the museum on two other disability awareness exhibits, and a variety of other projects. Working on these exhibits and subsequently attending accessibility training workshops made me more fully realize how inaccessible our world is, on both a physical and psychological level.

I believe visual media is one of our most important agents for social change, and I’m thrilled to be helping with the ReelAbilities Film Festival!

– Lauren Kalinoski, Planning Committee Member

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Meet The Team – Grishma Shah, Co-Director

RAFF bio3

 

Grishma, is a Mass-Media Consultant that works with filmmakers, actors, curators and film festivals. When Grishma isn’t screening a film or curating a film festival, you will find her on a film set, in a script writing class, or preparing for her next art exhibition.

“Films bring out an intoxicating concoction of feelings. Before we know it, we become addicted to it. We need to know what happens to the characters, and feel accountable for them as they live out their lives. Our understanding of their situation changes how we think. And sometimes we see ourselves in them. Film allows us that- it connects us to what’s important, humanity.”

– Grishma Shah, RAFF Chicago Co-Director

Click here for information on Grishma’s most current project:
http://www.ephemerafilm.com

Past project:
http://www.csaff.org

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Meet The Team

Meet The Team – Matt Lauterbach, Co-Director

Meet The Team

 

I vividly remember my first lesson in empathy.

When I was a small child, I bit my sister – regularly and repeatedly. To my parents’ great frustration, I wouldn’t stop. No amount of tears from my sister and no amount of scolding or pleading from my parents could change my behavior. What finally did work was when my mother bit ME to show me what if feels like to be bitten – hard. And when I finally understood how my sister felt, I stopped.

Now, as a documentary film editor, my goal is to make the experiences of others understandable. Empathy is my primary tool, and I strive to represent my subjects’ point of view as truthfully and vividly as possible. My films have explored such perspectives as: an Arab-American grappling with his identity in post-9-11 USA; nursing home residents who discover theater as a way to cope with dementia; a Twitter activist whose experience with homelessness drives him to collect and share hundreds of similar stories; and a young man who is coming to terms with his family’s history of mental illness.

My first exploration of disability was a short documentary called Hearing Images (2010), which illustrates the techniques of audio description & touch tours for blind theater-goers, in which visual images are made verbal and tactile during a special pre-show event. I myself am a trained audio describer, and I now lead touch tours for Victory Gardens Theater, the NeoFuturists, and Chicago Children’s Theater. And thanks to a grant from the Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, I was recently able to launch an interactive media project called Beyond Blind which strives to make the experiences of those with low vision understandable to ‘the sighted.’

Films are a vivid way to transport viewers into someone else’s life, show what it feels like to live in a different time or place or circumstance, and shed light on the various beliefs, perceptions, and abilities that other people possess. As one of the co-directors of ReelAbilities Chicago, I am excited to bring 5 days of engaging films and rich programming to this community. We can’t wait to share!

– Matt Lauterbach, RAFF Chicago Co-Director

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

 

Reveca Torres, Co-Director

Meet The Team – Reveca Torres, Co-Director

Reveca Torres, Co-Director

While on a family vacation in Mexico, Reveca fractured her spinal cord in an automobile accident and was paralyzed. Reveca finished high school and started college unsure if she could physically pursue the career she had always dreamed of: fashion design. With a few adaptations, she was the first student using a wheelchair to complete the fashion degree at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. She continued her studies in Theater Arts at the University of Arizona (UA).

Reveca has worked with Shriners Hospital for Children, Mobility International USA (MIUSA), Athletico Fitness and Performance, and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) National Center for Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD). With their help she has been able to provide resources on recreation, disability rights, college, travel, employment, and fitness to people with disabilities, specifically teenagers.

Reveca stays active and healthy by following a fitness routine and practicing yoga. She loves shoes and music festivals. Whether it’s surfing in California, scuba diving in the Bahamas, cleaning beaches in Costa Rica, attending fashion shows in Paris, or coming up with ideas for BACKBONES, Reveca loves to try new things and encourages others to do what they love too!

Learn more about Reveca Torres through BACKBONES and New Mobility.com

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org