This past week, the Reel Abilities Film Festival opened in New York City and John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, joined the festivities by hosting a discussion following the film, Upside Down.
The ReelAbilities Film Festival
The ReelAbilities Film Festival is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. John’s Crazy Socks loves the ReelAbilities Film Festival and has shown their support in many ways:
- John and Mark X. Cronin, co-founders of John’s Crazy Socks, moderated a discussion following the screening of the Italian film, Upside Down.
- John’s Crazy Socks sponsored the opening night event for the 2023 ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York
- John’s Crazy Socks made custom socks for the 2023 ReelAbilities Film Festival that patrons can purchase to support the festival.
Screening Upside Down
Directed by Luca Tornatore, Upside Down tells the story of a young man with Down syndrome who wants to box, a gruff but caring trainer who will help him achieve that goal and the struggles of his parents to both protect and yet encourage their son’s dreams. An MMA fighter with Down Syndrome inspired the creation of this movie.
John Cronin, an entrepreneur who has Down syndrome, said, “I loved this movie. It showed real life and what people with Down syndrome can achieve.”
After screening the film, John and Mark hosted a lively discussion with the director and the star of the film, Gabriele Di Bello. John and Gabriele hit it off right away because they are both Special Olympic athletes and never let Down syndrome hold them back. They are both living out their dreams – Gabriele as an actor and John leading his business.
Gabriele explained how he trained for months to prepare for the film and learned how to ski, ride a bicycle and box for his role.
Speaking about his film, Luca Tornatore said, “It appeals to more than just people with Down syndrome, it shows what can happen when we embrace our differences.”
John’s Crazy Socks and the ReelAbilities Film Festival
John’s Crazy Socks first got involved with the Reel Abilities film festival in 2020 when the documentary short Sock Guys made by Katie Turinski screened at the festival. Sock Guystells the story of how John came up with the idea to create a business with his father and to sell socks. Since COVID restrictions prevented in person showings of the film, ReelAbilities responded by hosting virtual screenings and John and Mark participated in many of those screenings to answer questions about the film.
Part of the mission at John’s Crazy Socks is to show what people with differing abilities can achieve when given an opportunity. More than half our colleagues have a differing ability. We host tours and work groups from social service agencies and high schools. John and Mark are frequent keynote speakers on inclusion and demonstrating that hiring people with differing abilities is not altruism, it is good business. John and Mark have given a TEDx Talk on the subject that you can view here.
ReelAbilities: A Film Festival that Makes a Difference
Founded in 2007 by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York is the largest festival in the country dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities. The weeklong festival is renowned for its wide-ranging international film selection, riveting conversations, and performances, presented annually in dozens of venues across the New York metropolitan area. In 2010, ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York expanded into an international program, presenting its one-of-a-kind programming in cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Central America.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $600,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account, TikTok or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.