RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2019
Leah Romond is an attorney, advocate, and artist. While working as a commercial litigation attorney in state and federal court for an international law firm, she experienced a brain injury as a result of viral encephalitis.
Following her injury, she had the great fortune to become involved with two organizations that are instrumental in her healing journey – the Love Your Brain Foundation and Zeno Mountain Farm. Love Your Brain supports wellness and healing for brain injury survivors and their loved ones through community, meditation, yoga, and retreats. Zeno Mountain Farm is a community of individuals with and without disabilities who gather throughout the year. No one at Zeno is treated differently because of their abilities or disabilities. Everyone contributes their own unique gifts for the betterment of the group. The Zeno community has been making short films for more than a decade. Romond is an associate producer on Zeno’s first feature-length film, Ready to Ride, which currently is in post-production. The movie will be the first SAG-AFTRA-registered feature in which half of the cast and crew have disabilities.
Having experienced life without a disability (and understanding what it is like to operate under ableist assumptions) and having experienced life with a disability (and understanding the related nuances and challenges), Romond hopes to bridge the gap between those two worlds through story telling. Although her life changed drastically following her injury, the underlying drive that propelled her prior to her injury remains strong.
Romond received her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego, where she graduated Cum Laude and Order of the Coif. She served as the Managing Editor of the San Diego International Law Journal and was Magister of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Society. While attending USD, she was a recipient of the Academic Achievement Scholarship and the Law Honor Scholarship. She received her Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and anthropology from Wake Forest University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and was an Order of Omega Greek Scholar. In her free time, she enjoys improv comedy and fosters shelter dogs and puppies.
After an extensive search and interview process, 22 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2019 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 5-week, nine-session innovative summer lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, takes place June 18 – July 18, 2019. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. Learn more: www.respectability.org/respectability-la-lab.
This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by: Comcast NBCUniversal, Jonathan Murray and The Walt Disney Company.