This weekend-long filmmaking contest, open to all, provides a platform for new voices to tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms. Challenge winners receive invaluable access to entertainment professionals, opening the door to an industry notoriously difficult to enter. A number of aspiring filmmakers and talent credit the film challenge for advancing their careers.
The Media Access Awards is the world’s top awards ceremony honoring people in the film and television industries who are advancing the accurate portrayals and employment of people with disabilities. This annual red-carpet gala, co-produced with Easterseals Disability Services, honors entertainment industry professionals who have advanced disability-related narrative and employment in fields of writing, producing, casting, performance, and directing.
Bentonville Film Festival
Through a series of cross-promotional activities, Easterseals and Bentonville Film Festival join forces to champion disability inclusion. At the annual Bentonville Film Festival, Easterseals has hosted panel discussions focused on inclusion in media and has screened Easterseals Disability Film Challenge winning films in front of an influential audience, representing some of the biggest global brands.
Heartland Film Festival
Additionally, we’re proud to partner with Heartland Film Festival and others globally to find new ways to feature disability inclusion in film and TV.
Annually, Easterseals Disability Film Challenge winning films receive an automatic entry into HollyShorts, an official Academy Awards® Qualifying Festival. Winning filmmakers are invited to speak about their filmmaking experiences following the screening, as part of a panel discussion to advance disability inclusion.
Most recently, Easterseals teamed with NewFilmmakers LA to announce the finalists of its Disability Film Challenge Home Edition, and it will soon provide a screening of our top films. Our disability creative leaders working in the industry regularly support NewFilmmakers LA across its programming and professional development offerings.