Summit and Panel Discussion Examines Disability Through a Brand New Lens
Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0: Disability Through a Brand New Lens, an industry panel exploring talent with disabilities in front of and behind the camera in television, features, and streaming, was held on February 20th. The event, held at the Television Academy campus, was presented by The Loreen Arbus Foundation, EIN SOF Communications, and The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, in association with Emerson College.
Loreen Arbus and Tari Hartman Squire were the Event Producers of Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0: Disability Through a Brand New Lens. Chuck Fries was Caucus Events Chair. Tanya Hart and Bob Papazian were Caucus Co-Chairs. Michael Berk was Caucus Panel Chair. Deborah Leoni is Executive Director of The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors. Jodi Delaney is Executive Director of the Television Academy Foundation.
The morning began with a roundtable discussion of the Hollywood & Disability White Paper created by the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation in partnership with Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0. The roundtable was facilitated by Katherine Perez, Executive Director of The Coelho Center, and Tari Hartman Squire, CEO EIN SOF Communications and founder of LCA. Roundtable participants included: Steven Allen and Barbara Butz, PolicyWorks; Derek Shields, National Disability Mentoring Coalition, Karyn Benkendorfer, Producers Guild of America, Diversity Committee; Deborah Calla, Producers Guild of America, Diversity Committee and Chair of the Media Access Awards; Wendy Calhoun, Co-Executive Producer Empire, Consulting Producer Station 19, Producer Nashville, Revenge, Justified, Hell's Kitchen; Lawrence Carter-Long, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund; Jo-Ann Dean, Founder SIGNmation, Producer ASL Cabaret; Consuelo Flores, SAG-AFTRA Diversity; Keith Jeffreys, US Veterans' Artists Alliance; Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Best Actor 2016 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge; Kristin Kucia and Benjamin Maixner, Exceptional Minds; Tatiana Lee, Accessible Hollywood; Ben Lewinand Judi Levine, writer/director/producer The Sessions, Catcher Was a Spy, Please Stand By; Nanci Linke-Ellis, Specialty Media Consultant; Jillian Mercado, model/social media influencer; Jd Michaels, Creative Engineering, Michaels.Adams; Anna Pakman, Empire Development Fund; David Radcliff, Staff Writer, The Rookie; Angela Rockwood, producer, actress Push Girls; Allen Rucker, WGA Chair, Committee of Writers with Disabilities; Sue Sawyer and Liz Zastrow, CA Transition Alliance; MyKhanh Shelton, SVP 21st Century Fox Global Inclusion; Michelle Alford-Williams and Wan-Chun Chang, CA Department of Rehabilitation; Gail Williamson, KMR Talent Diversity Division; Danny Woodburn, actor Seinfeld, Bold & the Beautiful; Kaitlyn Yang, CEO Alpha Studios; Jason E. Squire, Professor USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor, The Movie Business Book; Brian Roberts, Dreamworks Animation; and Consuelo Flores, SAG-AFTRA Diversity.
Panel topics throughout the afternoon included:
How to Make it in the Media, a Q&A moderated by Anna Pakman, Vice President, Digital Marketing for Empire State Development/NYC Division of Tourism. Panel participants included: Jillian Mercado - model and social influencer; Ben Lewin - director/writer of the acclaimed film, The Sessions. Kesila Childers -Vice President of Development for Powderkeg; CJ Jones - actor, Baby Driver and Avatar; Danny Woodburn, actor, Seinfeld and Bold & The Beautiful, SAG-AFTRA PwD Committee.
Resume Review, Speed Interviewing Flash Mentoring included: Ben Lewin and Judi Levin, Such Much Films; Brian Roberts - Co-Executive Producer, Dreamworks Animation; David Radcliff - staff writer, The Rookie; Jd Michaels - former EVP Diversity at BBDO Worldwide; Wendy Calhoun - Co-Executive Producer of the hit series Empire and her assistant Maddy Ullman; Jason E. Squire - USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor of The Movie Business Book. Angela Rockwood - Sundance Channel's Push Girls; Benjamin Maixner and Kristin Kucia - Exceptional Minds; Jo-Ann Dean - Founder & CEO, SIGNmation; Tatiana Lee - Founder & Editor, Accessible Hollywood; Diana Elizabeth Jordan - Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and Performing Arts Studio West; Giselle Legere - staff writer, Quantico; Gail Williamson, KMR Talent Diversity Division; Daniel Woodburn - actor Seinfeld, Bold & The Beautiful; Kaitlyn Yang - CEO Alpha Studios; Craig Tollis, editor, The Good Doctor, and board member, Able Artists Foundation; Liz Kelly - 21st Century Fox Diversity; Consuelo Flores - SAG-AFTRA diversity; Eileen Grubba - actor; Karyn Benkendorfer - PGA Diversity; Anna Pakman, Vice President, Digital Marketing for Empire State Development/NYC Division of Tourism; CJ Jones, Sign World Media, and actor Baby Driver, Avatar; and Jillian Mercado, model and social media influencer.
Self-disclosure: How to Leverage Your Disability to Sharpen Your Competitive Edge: workshop facilitated by Barbara Butz, PolicyWorks, and Katherine Perez, Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, and Innovation.
Networking and Mentoring: workshop facilitated by Derek Shields, National Disability Mentoring Coalition.
Deaf & Disability Narrative Imperative: Casting Authentic Stories Across Genres - Panel and Q&A moderated by Jd Michaels - former EVP Diversity, BBDO Worldwide, and Angela Rockwood - actress, star of the Sundance Channel's Push Girls. Panel included: Diana Elizabeth Jordan - Easterseals Disability Film Challenge and Performing Arts Studio West; Dawn Grawbowski - actor, writer, filmmaker, sit-down comic, motivational speaker; Tatiana Lee - Founder & Editor, Accessible Hollywood, blogger; David Radcliff - staff writer, The Rookie; Jo-Ann Dean, SIGNmation, Deaf Film Camp; John Lawson - Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
Concluding the all-day event was a dynamic evening panel entitled Disability Inclusion: In Front of and Behind the Camera, moderated by Tari Hartman Squire.Panel included: Zach Anner - Actor & Writer, Speechless and Rollin' With Zach, winner of Oprah Winfrey's Your OWN Show: Oprah's Search for the Next TV Star, author of If at Birth You Don't Succeed; Kaitlyn Yang - CEO Alpha Studios and Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood; Monika Mikkelsen - VP of Casting, Paramount Pictures; Michael Berk - Creator/Showrunner/Writer, Baywatch; and Douglas Schwartz - Creator, Showrunner, and Director, Baywatch; and CJ Jones - actor, Baby Driver and Avatar.