Academy Highlights Filmmakers With Disabilities to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of ADA

Clayton Davis
·2 min read

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present a virtual program titled “AccessAbility/VisAbility: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media,” featuring conversations with filmmakers with disabilities as they examine the struggles and successes in Hollywood.

Hosted by Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin (“Children of a Lesser God”), the three-panel event will feature artists from the disability community. Millicent Simmonds, who starred in Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” and Zack Gottsagen, who garnered awards buzz for 2019’s “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” are among the panelists.

The series continues AMPAS’ work at highlighting underrepresented voices in Hollywood. “The Academy’s focus is to bring diverse voices to the forefront of conversation, whether it’s people with cognitive or physical disabilities, who are deaf or hard of hearing, those in underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, or the LGBTQ+ community,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said in an email to Variety. “We want everyone to be heard — to share their stories — so we can widen how we see the world around us and intentionally create more opportunities for inclusion in our film community and beyond.”

Christine Simmons, Academy COO and head of the office of representation, inclusion and equity, said, “as the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront.”

Here are the panels; ASL, CART and audio descriptions will be available by the Academy.

Authentic Representation: Why It Matters and How Far We Have Come
Representation of people with disabilities in Hollywood, how it has evolved, and what future progress still needs to be made. With actor Danny Woodburn, actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid and talent manager Eryn Brown.

Behind the Camera: Why Inclusion Benefits Us All
The importance of inclusion in front of and behind the camera. With filmmakers Jenni Gold and Jim LeBrecht and VFX supervisor Kaitlyn Yang.

Fresh Voices: Hollywood’s Untapped Talent and Unlimited Potential
The future of representation both in front of and behind the camera. With animation director Jorge Gutierrez and actors Millicent Simmonds and Zack Gottsagen.

You can watch it on Oscars.org beginning Monday at 5 p.m. PT.

More from Variety

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.