The Black List Partners With the Media Access Awards, Easterseals and the WGA Writers With Disabilities Committee to Introduce the Disability List 

List of the most promising scripts featuring a character with a disability aims to increase representation for the 61 million Americans living with disabilities


LOS ANGELES , Nov. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Black List, in partnership with the Media Access Awards, Easterseals, and the Writers Guild of America Writers with Disabilities Committee, introduced The Disability List, a curated list of the most promising unproduced scripts featuring at least one lead character with a disability. This is the first list of its kind that aims to specifically identify scripts that further disability representation onscreen.

The List was announced as a part of the 40th annual Media Access Awards in partnership with Easterseals on Nov. 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, which celebrates those who advance inclusion in Hollywood through the employment of and creation of accurate portrayals of people with disabilities in film, television and new media. 

“Inclusion in Hollywood and authenticity in storytelling, starts in the writers’ room,” said Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker, Co-CEOs of the Media Access Awards and members of WGA Writers with Disabilities Committee. “We are honored to work with The Black List to spotlight these incredible scripts in hopes of advancing the portrayal of people with disabilities.”

The disability community is the largest minority group in America, making up 25 percent of the population (61 million Americans), yet is only represented in less than three percent of on-screen roles. The scripts on The Disability List represent the type of stories that the disabled community would like to see studios producing.

“The numbers speak volumes: 25 percent of the US population and less than three percent of on-screen roles. We believe these scripts show tremendous promise on their own merits and in addressing at least part of that discrepancy. I personally look forward to their arrival on screen alongside many, many similar stories,” said Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List.

“Our goal is a world in which everyone feels 100 percent included and empowered, and Hollywood has an important role to play in making that happen,” said Mark Whitley, CEO of Easterseals Southern California. “By highlighting people with disabilities through storytelling, we shape perceptions of this minority group and create a more inclusive society. We thank The Black List for bringing these great stories to the forefront.”

Scripts were sourced via blcklst.com or by the participating organizations, and feature at least one disabled character with a prominent role. 

The Disability List along with the Best Practices Guide for Hiring Disabled Writers, which was created by the Media Access Awards with the support of Easterseals and the WGA Writers with Disabilities Committee, together make great strides in facilitating the creation of content that is more inclusive of the disability experience.

The complete Disability List can be seen here: https://blog.blcklst.com/the-disability-list-406853001f09

LOGLINES OF SCRIPTS:
BILLY BARTY'S BIG DREAM by Nic Novicki: In 1957 the resilient and charming little person actor Billy Barty refused to be treated as a second-class citizen, and with the help of a Reno hotel started a support organization for little people. Despite Billy's fame and success, he is still single and lonely until he meets a little person named Shirley – but he then must convince her strict Mormon family that he is a suitable match.

DEAF'UN by Cedar Miller and Kevin Thomas: Inspired by true events, DEAF'UN tells the story of a deaf/mute orphan in 19th century London who fights his way out of abject poverty in the bare-knuckle boxing ring, risking everything he loves in the process.

THE FIRST CASE by Kurt Yaeger: A teenage girl’s future becomes cursed when her family lets a wounded and dangerous stranger into their home, which attracts a far greater evil that repays their good deed with death.

HIBAKUSHA by Clifton Daniel & Kevin Podgers: After experiencing the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, a young Japanese girl attempting to navigate a changed world grows up to be an advocate for survivors, eventually bringing her to the United States on a mission of peace and disarmament.

HOMEFRONT by Jude Roth: HOMEFRONT follows a group of female veterans struggling to salvage their lives in America's South who, after tragedy strikes amid their ranks, sets out to help veterans across the country.

THE MARVELOUS CRISIS OF LIVING by Erik Linthorst: A multigenerational female-driven dramedy, THE MARVELOUS CRISIS OF LIVING tells the story of a bipolar 15-year-old girl who, in a manic state, teams up with a boy with Asperger's from her teen support group to break her beloved grandparents out of their low-end Arizona nursing home and drive the elderly couple to a better life in Idaho. But as with all "it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" notions, it's not long before the ramping consequences of their actions begin crashing down.

ME & YOU by Sean Lavery: The emotional anxiety of a husband and wife struggling to raise a toddler with mild cerebral palsy manifests itself as the father being visited by two imaginary, fully grown versions of his son and the wife having actual, sentient conversations with the judgmental voices of the Internet.

SHORTCOMINGS by Nicole Evans and David Crabtree: Dr. Vickie Ziegler, a 3'8" tall dwarf who uses a wheelchair, is a brilliant therapist who explodes into the public spotlight as a self-help guru who doesn't practice what she preaches. Forced to navigate in a world that's not built for her size, she gets frustrated with her small stature and acts out sexually. 

UNSTABLE by Katherine Beattie: For a young woman with Cerebral Palsy, being disabled isn't a problem - it's her family that's the challenge.

THE WOODHULL by Lynda Brendish: A limited series drama based on the true story of Victoria Woodhull’s radical 1872 presidential bid — and the sex scandals, hubris and patriarchal powers-that-be that prevent her success.

If interested in reading any of the above scripts, please contact Kate Hagen and Caroline Johnson at The Black List (kate@blcklst.com & caroline@blcklst.com).

About The Black List
The Black List, an annual survey of Hollywood executives' favorite unproduced screenplays, was founded in 2005. Since then, more than 440 Black List scripts have been produced, grossing over $28 billion in box office worldwide. Black List movies have won 53 Academy Awards from 262 nominations, including four of the last ten Best Picture Oscars and ten of the last twenty-two Best Screenplay Oscars. In October of 2012, the Black List launched a unique online community where screenwriters make their work available to readers, buyers and employers. Since its inception, it has hosted more than 55,000 screenplays and teleplays and provided more than 100,000 script evaluations. As a direct result of introductions made on the Black List, dozens of writers have found representation at major talent agencies and management companies, as well as sold or optioned their screenplays. Currently, the Black List hosts over 3,500 scripts for consideration by over 5,000 film industry professionals ranging from agency assistants, to studio and network presidents, to A-list actors and directors. More information on the Black List is available at www.blcklst.com.

About the Media Access Awards
As the largest minority group on the planet—and as the only minority group that anyone can join at any point of his or her life—the disability community is a robust, diverse, and integral part of our global fabric. The Media Access Awards celebrate this fact by honoring, highlighting, and promoting disability and its depictions in film, television, and new media. The Media Access Awards aim to recognize depictions of disability that are accurate, inclusive, and multi-faceted. Our awards ceremony honors those industry professionals who have advanced disability-related narrative in fields including writing, producing, casting, performance, and directing. We are proud and pleased to be at the forefront of creating and promoting opportunities for some of the brightest talents in the industry www.mediaaccessawards.com.

About Easterseals Southern California
For 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals with developmental disabilities or other special needs and their families. The services provided by Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) – in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties – make profound and positive differences in people's lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. With 2,800+ employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, ESSC assists more than 13,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services, veteran employment support; independent living options; and more. At Easterseals, 88% of our income is spent on services. Join us in changing the way the world defines and views disabilities at www.easterseals.com/southerncal and www.WeCelebrate.org.

Media Contact:

Kate Hagen
The Black List
kate@blcklst.com

Caroline Johnson
The Black List
caroline@blcklst.com

Melissa England
Media Access Awards and Easterseals
MelissaE@Finnpartners.com
310.552.4163

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at:
https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9c22fdab-dd53-4135-b10a-a8d0d5a76097

 

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