RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021
Leo is a trans, queer, chronically ill cane user, and, unfortunately for his professors, is incredibly stubborn about uprooting the industry’s profit-driven model and replacing it with an inclusive, accessible playing field. His ultimate goal is to be a showrunner, with the aim to create art that changes the way people think, elevates marginalized voices, and inspires others to action.
Originally from what he refers to as “the Oregon Hellmouth”, Leo Allanach is a passionate sci-fi nerd and anti-capitalist activist, who grew up relying on books and TV as a way to survive in a violently conservative town. After developing a passion for filmmaking in high school, he was accepted into USC’s School for Cinematic Arts, where he graduated in 2020 with a BFA in Film & TV Production and a minor in Screenwriting. While there, he pushed back against the school’s industry-based educational system that suppresses marginalized voices and resists any movement toward increased accessibility. Fueled by this experience, Leo dove into disability justice and became passionate about wielding art as a tool to fight back.
In 2017, Leo developed his own web series called Fallen Justice, which allowed him to build a film set culture driven by care and compassion, with an aim for actors and crew to learn from each other in the process, and, most importantly, to have fun. He loves the collaborative and long-running nature of genre television in particular, and given the chance, will talk and write at length about heists, time-travel, or space pirates.
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