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Bio – Lab 2021 Emerging

Leo B. Allanach

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Leo Allanach

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. [continue reading…]

Aaron Silverman

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Aaron Silverman

Aaron Silverman is an emerging filmmaker who is most well known for the feature film Carol of the Bells, available to watch on Amazon Prime and other streaming services. Silverman is part of the Futures Explored Film and Media Workshop, which has a mission to help people with disabilities find employment in the film industry. As a filmmaker, Silverman wants to be a 1st Assistant director. Silverman is looking forward to learning from and networking with everyone he can. [continue reading…]

Carolyn Portner

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Carolyn Portner

Carolyn Portner is a comedy writer, podcast host and stand up comedian based in Los Angeles. She is currently the writers’ assistant on Netflix’s upcoming sitcom Pretty Smart and recently wrote Episode #211 “Tainted Love” for Season 2 of ABC’s Mixed-ish. Previously, she was the writers’ assistant on ABC’s The Conners and supported writers rooms for CBS’s Young Sheldon and NBC’s Trial And Error. [continue reading…]

Ty Freedman

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Ty Freedman

Ty Freedman is a writer, educator, and former circus clown who grew up in a bakery outside of Boston… No, literally, upstairs. You have no idea what growing up with an abundance of baked goods can do for one’s disposition. He always had an inkling that he experienced the world a bit differently… that he could see stories where others didn’t, but with a late-in-life ASD diagnosis, it was finally confirmed, medically speaking. With over 15 years experience as a pre-school teacher and years and years of performing in children’s theatre across the US at some major theaters including the Geffen, Pasadena Playhouse, the Public Theatre, and Steppenwolf, he combined his various backgrounds to create, write and star in the award-winning kids cooking show, Ty the Pie Guy. Doubling down on his passion to create kids’ content, he attended Centennial College’s post-graduate program for Children’s Media in Toronto and now plans to change the world by makings kids laugh for a living. [continue reading…]

Colin Buckingham

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Colin Buckingham

Colin Buckingham is a Writer, Actor, and Producer based in Brooklyn, NY. His goal as a storyteller and creator is to make projects that are inclusive, intersectional and give a platform for historically excluded, disenfranchised and marginalized persons in order for them to be represented and seen. Originally from Washington, DC, he got his start in writing through choreographing action and stunt coordinating on multiple plays, indie films and webseries. His first short film he wrote, choreographed, produced and acted in is currently in post production. He was a disability and dwarfism consultant for Tomorrow’s Today and another project TBA. As a writer he is mostly self taught, but has taken occasional playwriting and screenwriting courses. He recently started his own production company, “Chromatic Lens”.
[continue reading…]

Alaa Zabara

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Alaa Zabara

Alaa Zabara is a Hard-of-Hearing Yemeni-American Director and Cinematographer. Drawn to the power of photographs from an early age, she started to document the daily life around her through the use of a camera. These documentations became her conversation with, and introduction to, the world. She became attracted by the ability of cinema to change the hearts and minds of an audience, highlight the stories that need to be told, and to amplify the voices of the voiceless. [continue reading…]

Nikki Bailey

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Nikki Bailey

Nikki Bailey is a Performer, Published Author, and Emmy Nominated Producer, with a Master of Divinity, and now with her own podcast: Fun, Faith, & Fuckery. She was nominated for two Emmy awards for her work as a producer on PBS specials about Philadelphia politics and went on to work on and write for other television productions including: Labor and Delivery (TLC), WomenDocs (Lifetime) and This Far By Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys (PBS). Nikki is the author of Soul Smarts for Day Starts: 31 Days of Creative Inspiration and Activities. Her article, “Girl! I Am So Over Church!” is featured in the book, Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. She was a featured comedian for Loni Love’s “Laugh Off” on BET’s The Real and appeared in David Krumholtz’s IFC show, Gigi Does It. Nikki also played a supporting role in the short film, Missed Connections, starring Pose actress and trans activist, Angelica Ross. Nikki is the creator of Fatch Comedy: The Fat Sketch Show which features a cast of fat and fabulous funny ladies who’ve sold out shows at UCB in Los Angeles and San Francisco SketchFest. Nikki holds a BA in Communication with a focus on TV & Film and a Master of Divinity degree concentrated in Worship in the Arts & Womanist Ethics. [continue reading…]

Asha Chai-Chang

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Ashley “Asha” Chai-Chang

Born in Long Island, New York as the Jamaican/Cuban/Chinese/Jewish daughter to immigrant parents, Asha Chai-Chang is an Actuary by Trade turned Award-Winning Director/Writer with an invisible disability (tracheal stenosis). Miss Chai-Chang has been nominated and won numerous awards for her films that include, but are not limited to “Best Director,” “Best Humor,” “Best Ensemble,” and “Best Short Film.” In 2020 alone, Asha was named as Winner of 2020 Flip the Script Filmmaking Competition taking home awards for Best Director and Best Picture. She has been selected as a participant in the Summer 2021 RespectAbility Lab Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities, was a Finalist for the 2021 Blackmagic Collective All Access Career Initiative, is a Women of Color Unite #Startwith8Hollywood Mentee, and is a member of Alliance of Women Directors (AWD). [continue reading…]

Hilary Van Hoose

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Hilary Van Hoose

Hilary Van Hoose writes character-oriented, female-led genre stories about fish-out-of-water or outsider protagonists who discover their place in the world by making a difference in other people’s lives. The winner of the 2021 Stage 32 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Screenwriting Contest and a 2021 RespectAbility Lab Fellow, Hilary is currently a writer on an upcoming Nickelodeon YouTube series. Her screenplays have placed in such notable competitions as Sundance Episodic Lab, Austin Film Festival, BlueCat Screenplay Competition, and Scriptapalooza, and are ranked on the Coverfly Red List. She has previously worked as a calculus tutor, college librarian, video editor, and comedy club production staffer. [continue reading…]

Carmen Vincent

RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021

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Carmen Vincent

Carmen Vincent is a freelance video editor and documentary filmmaker based in Chesterton, IN with a fire inside her to engage with a diverse range of people and stories through her work. [continue reading…]

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