Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Asks the Entertainment Industry to Help Change the Way We Define & View Disability

Apologies for this being last minute but hopefully this will of be value to some. Registration for the 2018 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge,  April 13-15, closes today, Wed., April 11.  For full rules and to sign up, visit  www.DisabilityFilmChallenge.com

Registered filmmakers are given 55 hours to write and produce short films (three-to-five minutes) that Help Change the Way We View Disability. Submitted films are judged in four award categories – Best Film, Filmmaker, Actor and Awareness Campaign – by a noted and diverse group of entertainment industry talent.

Finalists will be announced and screened at the Bentonville Film Festival (May 1-6), which champions inclusion in all forms of media; be invited to an exclusive roundtable discussion with agents at United Talent Agency; and receive a one-year subscription to Variety Magazine.

Winners, who will be announced at a red-carpet event May 10, hosted by United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, are awarded industry mentorships, including a top prize of a lunch meeting with a Universal Pictures and/or Focus Features production executive; the opportunity to screen at the Los Angeles-based HollyShorts Film Festival (Aug. 9-18), an Academy Award-qualifying competition; $1,000 grants provided by Universal Filmed Entertainment Group towards their next production; Dell computers; a full, one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud—the entire collection of 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps including Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC and Photoshop CC; and a Nike gift bag with assorted products, including a pair of shoes from the new FlyEase line.

One-in-five Americans is living with a disability, making it today’s largest minority population, yet far too often their stories go untold. Just 1.7% of TV roles feature a character with a disability (GLAAD, “Where We Are on TV”) and of those roles, more than 95% of the characters are portrayed by actors without a disability (Ruderman Family Foundation).  Of the top 900 films since 2007, just 2.7% of characters were portrayed as having a disability (USC Annenberg, “Inequality in 900 Popular Films”). 

Now in its fifth year, the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge addresses this underrepresentation by giving filmmakers – with and without disabilities – the platform to collaborate, tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms and support Easterseals’ goal to change the way disability is viewed.

Since the Challenge launched in 2013, aspiring filmmakers from around the world have created more than 150 short films which have been viewed online and at festivals. Winners have included Jamie Brewer, who won Best Actor in 2017 for Whitney’s Wedding, has been acclaimed for her role on American Horror Story and was the first model with Down Syndrome to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week; Dickie Hearts, Best Filmmaker winner in 2015, who went on to win an HBO Project Greenlight digital series competition; and Jenna Kanell, winner of Best Film in 2015 who gave a TEDx Talk about her experience.

SPONSORS: Adobe; Bentonville Film Festival; CBS Entertainment Diversity & Inclusion; Deadline; Dell, Inc.; HollyShorts; Nike; SAG-AFTRA; United Talent Agency; Universal Pictures; Variety.

About the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge: 

As someone with a disability, actor, comedian and producer Nic Novicki (shown above) launched the Challenge in 2013 in response to the under-representation of talent with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera.  In 2017, Novicki joined forces with Easterseals Southern California, which serves 10,000 individuals with developmental disabilities and other special needs to make profound and positive differences in people’s lives every day. www.Easterseals.com/SouthernCal




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