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Isabella Vargas

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2022

Isabella Vargas headshot

Isabella Vargas

Isabella Vargas is a filmmaker, writer, and media artist who focuses on celebrating underrepresented stories. Raised mostly in South Florida, in between a multitude of cultures, her work attempts to find poetic ways to construct and deconstruct her community’s stories.

Growing up with different disabilities, Vargas quickly found that her chronic illness partly led her to devour every film and book she could possibly find. She is a first-generation graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where her main interest was amplifying marginalized experiences through filmmaking. She has worked on films focused on indigenous youth in Latin America and crafted video pieces that capture the difficulties of being disabled in Latinx spaces. Her student films have screened in festivals across the country.

Straight after college, she dived into every niche of the film industry – from development to production. Soon after, Vargas became interested in the intersection of media, advocacy, and diversity. Caring deeply about her community’s stories, secrets, and dreams, she seeks to make work that unravels the realities of the immigrant diaspora and its relationship to trauma and the politics of care. She is a current 2022 artist resident at BRIClab in Brooklyn, NY and was recently a 2020 artist resident at UnionDocs.

Her ultimate goal is to be a disability advocate in the media space while also cultivating the tools necessary to craft compelling stories about people who identify as disabled and as BIPOC.

Learn More

After an extensive search and interview process, 18 individuals and one writing duo were invited to participate in the Virtual Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2022 Entertainment Lab taking place August 16 – September 22, 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 Virtual 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

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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