Disabled Characters: Who gets to write them? Who gets to play them?
The question of who should tell stories of marginalized and underrepresented voices has been much discussed, sometimes leading to heated stances over artistic freedom, cultural appropriation and accusations of censorship. And yet, disabled stories are sorely lacking in representation. Twenty percent of people have a disability while on-screen representation hovers around three percent, with no meaningful change in the last five years. While more attention is being paid to hiring disabled actors for disabled roles, what about opportunities for disabled actors to play nondisabled characters? And who should be writing these roles? What are best practices for inclusive casting and accessible sets? This event was a deep dive into a conversation about inclusive casting for both visible and nonvisible disabilities, creating accessible sets, and ensuring authentic authorship.
- Ava Rigelhaupt, writer, consultant, actress, public speaker and advocate for disability and autism representation in the entertainment industry
- Gail Williamson, Talent Agent and and head of the Diversity Department at Kazarian / Measures / Ruskin & Assoc.
- Alaa Zabara, independent Hard-of-Hearing Yemeni-American Director and Cinematographer
- Moderated by Film Fatales member Khadifa Wong (Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance)