RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2019
Shireen Alihaji is a poet/filmmaker from Los Angeles covering stories on labor rights, environmental justice, hate crimes, trafficking, sexual violence, capital punishment, health care equity, immigration and accessibility for people with disabilities. Her revolving identities (Latinx, Iranian, Muslim Disabled) inspire her to hold space for intersections and advocate for all. She believes that in a society that systematically demolishes concepts of home including; people, land and histories, it is radical to tell stories. Our histories have survived through memory. When we remember we correct our displacement. Film is a way we reclaim narratives and restore truth if we collectively choose to remember.
After supporting writing/directing initiatives for major film studios, she transitioned into community scale media organizing and co-founded an LA-based media cooperative that supports the restoration of voices through story sharing and education. She is in development with her film Blue Veil which has was placed on the inaugural Black List X Muslim List, inaugural Cannes Screenplay List and was published in The Blue Print for Muslim Inclusion (Pillars Fund, Riz Ahmed / Left Handed Films, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative).
In her free time, she volunteers as a videographer for the Women’s Mosque of America and teaches filmmaking workshops for youth. Her work has been featured in Muslimgirl.com, LA Times, KCET and Frontline, the University of Michigan and she has presented at Columbia University through The Muslim Protagonist. You can learn more about her at www.shireenalihaji.com.
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.