RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2020
Topher González Ávila was born in Mexico and grew up in Texas. He’s Deaf and so are his parents, siblings and some of his uncles, aunts and cousins! In the day, he works in education and on the side, he works as a freelance video editor. He studied Radio, Television and Film at University of North Texas. He has filmed and edited for companies and businesses. There are infinite things to enjoy but for Topher, scriptwriting and directing are his endgame. He always has been writing scripts since he can remember.
As a Brown Queer Deaf person, González Ávila never embraced the person he is until his mid-twenties. He believes it has to do with media and how whitewashed it can be. He grew up without BIPOC Deaf role models and especially without Queer Deaf role models. The world as it is right now is a lot different than the world González Ávila grew up in. There is a lot more representation in media now but more representation is needed. He hopes to bring more Deaf stories to the screen so the Deaf communities can be represented more. And so that the world can see more humanity in the Deaf communities beyond their disabilities. There is so much to the “Deaf” world from sign languages to cultural customs to everything else. Filmmaking is one way to shed more light on this world.
After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2020 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 5-week, 15-session virtual 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, will take place June 16 – July 16, 2020. 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:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and The Walt Disney Company
- Gold Sponsors: Cast & Crew, Comcast NBCUniversal and Final Draft
- Silver Sponsors: Fox Corporation and Sony Pictures Entertainment