RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2022
Crystal Garcia (she, her, hers) is a disabled, bisexual, Chicana filmmaker. Her work focuses on uplifting marginalized people, especially centering on disabled people, as they are often not centered in the media as authentic and complex characters.
After graduating from Cerritos College with her Associate’s degree in Film Production, Garcia transferred to California State University, Fullerton, and further delved into the craft of storytelling and film. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Television Arts and majored in Women and Gender Studies because she knew if she wanted to tell authentic stories, she needed to also learn about intersectionality and equity. Garcia previously interned as a film mentor/teacher at a nonprofit organization, where she was able to help marginalized middle school and high school students learn to craft the stories they wanted to tell and how to express themselves through all aspects of film. She then went on to intern at a film production company as a business and production development intern, where she helped her mentors network and gain clients. She also worked as a media intern at It Gets Better, a nonprofit organization spreading positive stories about LGBTQ+ people.
When she is not spending time with her three other disabled siblings, family, or partner, she can be found writing her novels on stories about powerful, disabled, Latina witches, a story about a transgender guy with his newly zombified girlfriend, or even the infamous Dracula who also happens to be bisexual. Garcia hopes to adapt these magical stories as an established writer one day and then continue to adapt her work as a showrunner or director in television and film. This would then let her continue to work on stories that uplift marginalized voices in work where they are purely existing and not a trope. The more people see a person they are not used to seeing in the media, the more people will see that those stories and voices are just as deserving of being in the spotlight.
After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2022 Entertainment Lab taking place June 7 – July 14, 2022. This 6-week, 18-session Lab aims to further develop and elevate the talent pipeline of diverse professionals with disabilities working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age from people in their 20’s through their 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.
The Los Angeles Cohort of the 2022 Entertainment Lab is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation and Netflix
- Gold Sponsors: The Harnisch Foundation, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and The Walt Disney Company
- Silver Sponsors: Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, and NBCUniversal
- Location Sponsors: Bunim-Murray Productions, DreamWorks Animation, Endeavor, Lionsgate, Nielsen, and ROSIES Foundation