The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge began – oh, too long ago, created by hardworking actor and comedian, Nic Novicki, before Easterseals got involved. This annual event showcases the disability community in short films. There are filmmakers, actors, writers, producers, editors, every hat you can name, with a disability. The rule is that at least one person involved must have a disability, but the majority of films have more than one, and the most passionate projects, in my opinion, are the ones written and produced by people with disabilities. There are a variety of films from some first time filmmakers, and some industry vets. You’ll see well known film and TV stars making appearances and some gems waiting to be discovered.
It’s a 48-hour challenge that begins late on a Friday night, where Nic sends out specifics that each challenger must include in their film, and the time clock begins. For example, a certain word must be somewhere in the dialogue, an apple, the number 100, and usually a few more items that need to appear in your film, as well as a theme and/or genre. Every filmmaker is given the same hints. The specifics change every year, and no one knows what is going to happen until they are given these hints. Watching the creativity of these filmmakers and the outcome of each film made in such a short time is incredible. Especially when you notice it might be a person getting their feet wet for the first time ever, then seeing their progress the following year.
The winners receive some pretty fat packages with equipment and film making tools as well as meeting with casting directors and industry execs.
It’s a great way to discover new talent if you’re in the industry, or to understand the disability community, if you don’t have someone in your life with a disability. It’s a community of change makers that are breaking down the glass ceiling in Hollywood, and each year more studios and networks are getting involved.
The link below will take you to EDFC’s YouTube channel where you can find the films. Official judging and announcement of winners will be announced this Friday, April 29th. Pop that popcorn, drizzle it in butter, and start binging! Drop your favorites in the comments below!