History and Vision

The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival is the new name and expanded vision for the successful Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival which celebrates disability, diversity, and difference.

Join us September 26 – 30 to celebrate our shared humanity through the art of film, music, dance, poetry, fine arts, food, and culture.  It all takes place in Over-the-Rhine, the surging entertainment district of Cincinnati.

The festival is organized by LADD, Inc., a non-profit agency that has served adults with developmental disabilities for 42 years – assisting them to work, engage and connect!


We exist to celebrate our differences and shared humanity through film and the arts.


Our film festival invites films that explore diversity in race, gender, sexuality, sexual identity, faith, and disability. Films are selected based on merit and entertainment value. We celebrate film and art makers, promote their work to broad audiences, and introduce them to distributors, agents, and the media to promote careers. Connection is why we exist.
We work in Cincinnati – one of the world’s top seven film production cities – where film is highly valued and all people are warmly welcomed.


In 2013, LADD Inc. began to organize the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival as a biennial celebration of the lives, stories, and art of people who experience disabilities. In 2015, LADD took on the national leadership of the ReelAbilities Film Festival which quickly spread to 15 cities across North America, making it the largest disabilities film festival in the country. Cincinnati’s civic, philanthropic, faith, and corporate communities have shown a tremendous outpouring of support for the festival.


In 2017, the four-day festival — with 61 films, 15 free workshops, a premiere luncheon attended by 700, and special community events — drew nearly 10,000 attendees. More than 10,000 students benefit from ReelAbilities’ year-round educational programs. Support from the region’s traditional and social media produced a reach of 2.45 million, with more than 100,000 website hits. The festival helped raise funds for 27 local agencies and throughout its history, has returned over $60,000 to the community.


In 2018, LADD is expanding the scope of the Festival to move beyond a singular focus on disability-specific programming to focus on disability, diversity, and difference. With a new name, The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, this expanded scope elevates disabilities to the broader conversation of diversity, which too often is a solely a discussion of race and gender. The new scope is consistent with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences focus on elevating the visibility of marginalized groups in film with specific identification of race, ethnicity, LGBT, faith, and disability. We are timing this change of focus to coincide with the City of Cincinnati’s effort to be more welcoming and inclusive. We believe this is the right decision because disability cuts across all arbitrary social boundaries. Disability does not discriminate.


We see a world where media and culture accurately reflect and value all people.


Research has shown that seeing oneself on screen is an important part of the development of self-concept. When we see actors and spokespersons who look like us, we begin to know we are an important part of the fabric of our culture. When we do not see ourselves, we assume people like us are unimportant. Social scientists report that the absence or misrepresentation of a group of people is a means of maintaining social inequality.


We believe:
• We have the right to see ourselves fairly represented onscreen and in entertainment.
• Among all film, independent film tells untold stories thus providing a unique entertainment experience.
• As the disability service industry evolves, the film and art we showcase must reflect the new awareness.
• Authentic inclusion includes a seat at the tables of power – where decisions are made.
• Diversity makes us stronger.
• Working from strengths is the most powerful strategy.
• Conversation is how we create meaningful relationships.
• Bold action, excellence, and accountability are fundamental to our success.