Los Angeles, California, April 15 – Tatiana Lee has been working on improving representation of disabilities in media for years through acting, modeling, blogging, and activism. Her latest project is a new short film called Head Trip, filmed and edited in one weekend as an entry for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. The competition gives filmmakers — with and without disabilities — the opportunity to collaborate to tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms.
In Head Trip, Lee plays Zarah, who along with her friend Lex (Darrien London), bites off more than she can chew when playing a newly released virtual reality experience. Lee previously participated in the Disability Film Challenge in 2018 with a short film called Footloose, which won the award for Best Awareness Campaign.
This year was special for Lee because it was the first time she did her own project with her sister, Alice Felder, who directed the short film. “I’m glad I could do this with my family,” said Lee.
Lee has been in big budget commercials for companies like Apple and modeling shoots for fashion companies like ModCloth, so the Challenge is a fun reason for her to do a project with a quick turnaround time. “It’s so easy to get creative, grab your iPhone, grab some friends, make a film and have some fun,” said Lee.
Lee has learned to harness the power of social media to speak boldly about accessibility and inclusion in mass media. She became the voice behind “Accessible Hollywood,” where she highlighted her journey as an actress, model and lifestyle influencer born with Spina Bifida. She was awarded the 2018 Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship at the Media Access Awards a few months ago.
Taking part in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge was important for Lee as showcasing both actors – and crew members – with disabilities is one of the challenge’s missions. Furthermore, Lee having the lead in this short film is significant as actors without disabilities play more than 95 percent of characters with disabilities.
When she’s not acting, modeling, or influencing on social media, Lee works with RespectAbility to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Lee was a Communications Fellow in the Spring 2019 cohort, participating in the leadership program to gain better knowledge and skills to be a more effective advocate in Hollywood for disability inclusion. Now, she helps represent RespectAbility in Hollywood as a Hollywood Inclusionist. Lee has dedicated her life to fighting for inclusion of diverse people with disabilities in all aspects of mass media.