RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021
Jennifer Valdes was born in Queens, New York. She is an award winning independent filmmaker who has worked in the professional film industry for over 13 years. Jennifer is disabled and uses her strength, determination and passion to make award winning films despite her physical limitations. Jennifer is a director, producer, writer and professional video editor. She graduated from St. John’s University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications in 2005. Jennifer also worked at the New York Film Academy as a Teacher’s Assistant in the Video Editing Lab, where she helped students with technical computer programs and taught Final Cut Pro Video Editing Instruction Classes to High School Students.
Jennifer first gained momentum in the indie film circuit for her slapstick horror/comedy feature film, Jack ‘O’ Slasher (2012), which was distributed worldwide. Her unique and eccentric film making style developed further with the release of her award winning short black and white, modern film noir, horror love story, Isabelle (2014). Isabelle won the Audience Choice Award at The Macabre Faire Film Festival 2015.
Jennifer wrote and directed a short film called Laid to Rest in 2017. The film is a psychological, thriller, drama with themes of romance and domestic violence. Laid to Rest had its Official NYC premiere at the Winter Film Awards Film Festival at Cinema Village movie theater and was awarded the winner of the Winter Fear Award for Best Horror Short Film in 2017.
Jennifer directed, produced and edited a blood donation awareness short horror film, in 2019, called The Blood is the Life. The film was nominated as a semi-finalist for the prestigious 2019 Etheria women in film festival, winner of the Best Editing Award at the New Jersey Horror Con, Film Festival Spring 2019 and Best Horror film at Comicpalooza Film Festival 2019 and a semi-finalist of the Women in Horror Film Festival 2020.
After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2021 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 8-week, 24-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 22 – August 12, 2021. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. This Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award. 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, The Harnisch Foundation, Pop Culture Collaborative, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company
- Gold Sponsors: A&E and Final Draft
- Silver Sponsors: NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS