RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2023
Radha Mehta has been a filmmaker throughout the past decade and is currently completing her MFA in Film and Directing at American Film Institute, with an expected graduation date of May 2023. Her past documentary and narrative films have been focused on topics she experienced within her own upbringing as a woman of color and within her South Asian diaspora, ranging from being an immigrant in the US, to dismantling cultural taboos around mental and physical health, to women empowerment rising above family expectations or toxic relationships, and the challenges of being sandwiched between parenting and looking after our elders.
As a South Asian woman, a daughter of immigrants from India, a survivor of toxic relationships, a lucky wife to a Latino Army Ranger War Veteran, a mother of two, and having been hard-of-hearing since she was 6 months old, Radha feels these different identifiers make her a part of unique communities which have provided her a depth of lived experiences that shape her process as a storyteller. She aims to bring empathy and hope in all the stories she tells with characters who rise above their given circumstances.
Prior to Radha’s career as a filmmaker, she earned undergraduate degrees in Computer Science, Economics, and Business Management from Duke University, and an MBA from Kellogg School for Management at Northwestern University. She had served as a Partner of her family business in civil engineering for nearly 2 decades. Throughout that time, she actively pursued a side hustle as a singer/songwriter with several original songs placed in film and television across networks such as E!, VH1, MTV, OWN, and Lifetime networks. She also actively pursued a side hustle of painting (abstract and watercolor portraiture) and has had original works exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Florida and California.
After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2023 Entertainment Lab taking place May 1 – June 9, 2023. This 6-week Lab aims to develop and elevate the talent pipeline of disabled entertainment professional working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming, while connecting them with industry professionals and creatives. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age the 20’s through the 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.