Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Announces 2024 Winners

The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge awarded prizes in several categories at a Thursday event on the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City.

The Disability Film Challenge is celebrating 11 years of advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in the entertainment industry.

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Presenters and attendees included “Ricky Stanicky” writer, producer and director Peter Farrelly, comedian Nate Bargatze, “Coda” director Siân Heder, Caterina Scorsone of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Sheaun McKinney of “The Neighborhood,” Rick Glassman of “Not Dead Yet,” Jillian Mercado of “The L Word: Generation Q” and Heather Morris of “Glee.”

The winners were selected from 135 submitted from around the world. They include:

Best Film – “Audio Description” – Lee Pugsley;

Best Director – “The Case of the Obsidian Muskrat”- Chase Chambers

Best Actor – “Emergency Contact” – Kiersten Kelly

Best Writer – “Call the A.D.A.” – David Radcliff

Best Editor – “The Case of the Obsidian Muskrat” – Chase Chambers

Best Awareness Campaign – “Out of Reach” – Sawsan Zakaria

Easterseals also presented 12 seed fund/film finishing grants for $15,000 each to selected finalists and winners to further develop their short films or accelerate the development of their projects into features or series.

EDFC founder, comedian and actor Nic Novicki said, “People who are disabled comprise 25% percent of the population and we are ready to see ourselves authentically represented in Hollywood. Disability continues to be frequently overlooked in D&I discussions and we need to be part of that conversation. We had 135 films made by and starring disabled artists and that number is only growing each year, a testament to the talent in our community.”

Novicki, who most recently voiced Lego Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” said, “As we continue to strive to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace in Hollywood, we have made advancements, but there is still much work to be done.”

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