Easterseals Film Challenge Offers Disabled Talent a Chance to Break into the Industry


Calling all disabled filmmakers and talent: you’ll have the opportunity to compete for more than $150,000 in grants at the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge 2024 from April 2-7. Over five days, participants from around the world will write, film and edit a short film based on this year’s genre, “Buddy Comedy.” Submitted films are judged in six award categories: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Writer, Best Editor and Best Awareness Campaign. In addition to grant money, winners will receive a $2,000 cash prize, mentoring meetings with industry executives, Dell Technologies computers and more.

Comedian and actor Nic Novicki created the film challenge 11 years ago in response to the underrepresentation of disabled talent in the media, both in front of and behind the camera. “I had to write the roles I wanted to play and produce my own content, and that led me to other opportunities,” says Novicki, who is a small person.

Since the film challenge launched in 2013, more than 600 short films have been submitted and participants, like Danielle Perez, who voices Sun-Spider in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse -They have moved on to roles in popular movies and television shows. “Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writers and producers of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Oscar winners, found Danielle through the challenge,” says Novicki, who voices LEGO Spider-Man in the film. “The industry is watching our films and [the Casting Society] Share all films with casting directors around the world, as well as with studios and networks.”

Registration for the Easterseals Film Challenge 2024 is now open and more information is available at DisabilityFilmChallenge.com.



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