Organized by leading disability services and advocacy organization LADD and under the artistic direction of venerated film critic TT Stern Enzi and creatively produced with senior artist activist Kate Siahaan-Rigg, the festival takes place in the heart of the Over The Rhine District of Cincinnati. Originally an extension of the National “Reel Abilities” Film Festival which came to Cincinnati in 2013, the festival widened its lens to also include any films that tell stories about communities whose voices are marginalized in the world. The festival gives awards in partnership with local institutions whose values reflect the Festival’s vision such as the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s “Freedom Award” and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House “Power of Voice” Award.
Watch a 3 minute video about our presenting organization LADD, an award winning not for profit who provide services to and advocated for people with disabilities.
We’re proud to present the festival in a city that has historically represented compassion, cultural diversity and inclusion: In the early 1800s Cincinnati locals had begun calling it “The Queen City” and “The Queen of the West”, in reference to the culture, arts, and civilization the city offered in the midst of the wildness of the emerging West. Cincinnati became primary stop on the underground railroad. Enslaved people would travel from the South to the North via the Licking River to the Ohio River and the crossing over the Ohio from KY to Cincy was a major pathway to freedom. During World War 2, Cincinnati’s Union station also became a hub for people who fled the holocaust to emigrate to America. The Holocaust and Humanity Center is now situated in the building which was the first glimpse of freedom for hundreds of Jewish families.
Cincinnati is still one of the most immigrant-friendly cities in the country, and home to the nation’s first data-informed, gender equity certification programs. It has the top minority business accelerator in the country, and is home to many museums and festivals that celebrate culture and change, including ours.
The 5 pillars of the festival represent a mission of inclusion upon which this festival is rooted. Films are selected based on alignment with one or more of the below pillars.
Our mission is to create a sense of shared humanity through stories, conversations and action. Our vision is a world that celebrates difference, diversity, and honors our shared humanity-a world where film and media reflect and value all. This vision is focused on giving a voice to the voiceless, empowering film makers who are more often than not forced into the margins of media, and telling untold stories that deserve to be heard.
The Over The Rhine Film Festival is proud to periodically work in partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to present films centered on the themes of freedom, justice and equality. Sign up to our mailing list for information about the film festival and advance notice of these screenings.