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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 1:11 a.m., Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Gala kicks off Disabilities Studies celebration

Advertiser Staff

The Center on Disability Studies (CDS) at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa will celebrate its 20th Anniversary at a gala cinema event at the Honolulu Design Center tonight.

The opening gala sets the stage for Pacific Rim Cinema Nights, a new quarterly disability film festival at the Honolulu Design Center's Cupola Theater. Over the course of the next year, CDS will showcase feature films, shorts, documentaries, animation and experimental films in a variety of genres and styles that will inspire, provoke, educate and entertain.

Kicking off the series at the gala will be the Hawai'i premier of "Mr. Blue Sky," a Sarah Garfield film that tells the story of an unconventional love triangle between three childhood buddies—two girls, one of whom was born with Down Syndrome, and one boy—who all grow up fighting who they are inside. Award-winning shorts, including "Difference is Normal," a Lebanese/Syrian production made during the 2006 bombing, will also be showcased. In addition, jazz pianist Matt Leonhardt and Hawaiian falsetto singer Kale Peters will provide entertainment.

Gail Williamson, Hollywood casting coordinator for persons with disabilities, will also be a guest speaker at the event.

Well-known in the film and television industry and a recipient of the coveted national "Mother of the Year" award, Williamson will speak to the challenges in the entertainment industry.