Posted by Larry Gleeson
Actors & Decision Makers Will Spotlight Need to Include Disability in Diversity Conversations; Organization Serves as Member of Sundance Institute’s Accessibility & Inclusion Alliance
PARK CITY, UTAH — Jan. 23, 2020 — For Immediate Release — An Allied Organization of Sundance Institute and member of its newly announced Accessibility & Inclusion Alliance, Easterseals Disability Services will host a panel on the influence of diversity and inclusion initiatives in Hollywood in increasing the visibility of/opportunities for talent with disabilities in the entertainment industry. As a go-to resource for filmmakers and actors with disabilities, ESSC has worked with the Institute since 2018, helping to make the annual Sundance Film Festival more inclusive and accessible.
Moderated by Britt Stephens, Celebrity & Entertainment Editor, Pop Sugar. Guest panelists include Shanique Bonelli-Moore, Executive Director of Inclusion, United Talent Agency; Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO, The Black List; John Travis, VP of Brand Marketing, Adobe; and Shoshannah Stern, Creator, Executive Producer, Writer and Star of Sundance TV’s This Close.
The disability community, which makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population and commands $21 billion in discretionary income, is represented in less than three percent of on-screen roles. It is time for Hollywood to take the opportunity to capitalize on new, authentic stories and reach a large segment of the marketplace by including people with disabilities in their content.
Said Mark Whitley, CEO, ESSC, “It’s been just three years since Sundance and Easterseals joined forces to advance disability inclusion and greater accessibility across the Festival and the entertainment industry at large. We’re making real progress, but still have more to do to make disability inclusion, whether in front of or behind the camera, commonplace— an industry practice and standard. This year, we’re honored to extend our work and partnership with Sundance Film Festival, bringing together new and diverse voices to share their unique perspectives, address challenges and push the needle forward on inclusion.”
As part of Easterseals’ vision of building a more inclusive future for more than 61 million Americans with disabilities, the organization is working with Sundance Institute to increase accessibility for filmmakers, critics and film enthusiasts with disabilities at the Festival.
(Source: Press release provided by EasterSeals)