RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2019
Shireen Alihaji is a poet/filmmaker from Los Angeles covering stories on labor rights, environmental justice, hate crimes, human trafficking, gender discrimination, sexual violence, capital punishment, health care equity, immigration/refugee reform, restorative justice and accessibility for people with disabilities. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of California Irvine.
As a woman with Epilepsy, a child of duel cultural (Iran/Ecuador) and duel faith heritage (Muslim/Catholic), she seeks to create environments for historically neglected identities to share their stories. After supporting the writing/directing initiatives for major film studios, she transitioned into community scale media organizing and co-founded Blue Veil Film; an LA-based media cooperative that supports the restoration of voices; belonging to historically excluded communities seeking to reclaim their narratives through story sharing and education.
“The tradition of story sharing (vs telling) restores justice in affirming one’s experience and reflecting back narratives that open spaces for all of us to exist.”
In her free time, she volunteers as a videographer for Women’s Mosque of America and guest teaches filmmaking workshops for youth. Her work has been featured in Muslimgirl.com, LA Times, KCET and Frontline, the University of Michigan (Dr. Suad Abdul Khabeer’s course) and she has presented at Columbia University through The Muslim Protagonist.
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.