Los Angeles, April 1 – The 2021 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge has provided some fantastic short films again this year, and as always, gives great examples of best practices when it comes to disability representation in entertainment. For those unaware, the Easterseals Film Challenge is a filmmaking competition where competitors are given a topic along with a series of other elements to include, and must write, direct and edit a short film all in a single weekend, while involving people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera.
This year, 2019 RespectAbility Lab Alumna Natalie Trevonne created a short mockumentary called NayNay Too Bomb. Trevonne wrote and stars as the title character in this hilarious short film.
“NayNay Too Bomb is a new female hip-hop artist who uses her prolific lyrics and hot beats to raise awareness for women’s rights that fight against toxic beauty standards,” she said. Her character in the film also is blind, and the mockumentary explores the intersectionality of being both blind and female-identifying in her lyrics.
“I think growing up we have this idea of what beauty is, based off of what society tells us it is,” Trevonne continued. “And since disability is often left out in the media, we kind of start to feel bad about how we look, because we are taught that disability isn’t appealing. But that’s such a lie. And I think it’s the same thing with being a woman. We’re often given an unrealistic goal to meet in order to appear attractive to men…Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and abilities.”
In addition to Trevonne, her co-star, Jeremy Jeffers, is also blind. They wrote the songs together with Trevonne creating the lyrics, and Jeffers composing the beats. Trevonne also wrote the narration and collaborated with director/producer Marie A. Rodriguez on the shots for the creative short.
“I think I’m most proud of the fact that I challenge myself by playing a hip-hop artist,” Trevonne added. “I’m not a rapper at all, so kind of stepping into that character was pretty liberating for me…I love the opportunity of getting to play a character who is fun and free! I’m also proud of the fact that our team was super small and we were able to pull this film off in such a short period of time. Everyone who you see as extras in the film are also crew. We had to be super careful because of COVID-19, so it was necessary for us to be flexible.”
NayNay Too Bomb not only brings awareness to disability inclusion and representation, but touches on the issues of gender equality and stereotypes as well. Trevonne uses her character’s provocative lyrics to promote a change in society’s thinking on these issues.
“More often than not, the blind community is always told what they can’t do,” Trevonne said. “Our hope is that our film encourages the community to come together to break down barriers. I believe that we can be whoever we want to be, and I’m so grateful that the Disability Film Challenge gives us the opportunity to create our own stories.”
When asked about what she hopes the main takeaway for audiences who see the film will be, she said, “I want people to watch this film and come away with the freedom that they can really be who they want to be…I can put my own work out there and those who are interested will catch the vibe!”
Trevonne also participated in last year’s 2020 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, with her team’s film placing in the top twelve. This year, she and her team hope that NayNay Too Bomb will be equally well-received.
Through April 5, audiences are asked to like, share or comment on the 2021 films entered in the competition to spread awareness. Finalists will be announced on April 29, and a virtual awards ceremony will be held on May 6.
- Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/q79C_TSy6uo
- Watch on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/disabilityfilmchallenge/posts/3327227987503470
- Watch on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CM7HsNjpj2D