Alex Truesdell is the founder and Executive Director of the Adaptive Design Association, a nonprofit organization based in New York City. Alex has taught hundreds of courses in adaptive design to professionals and parents in the United States, and has facilitated replication efforts in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India, Poland, and Guatemala. In 1996, Alex was awarded a 3-year fellowship in International Community Development co-sponsored by the Partners of the Americas and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Fellowship led Alex to establishing the Adaptive Design Association in 2001, and her current commitment to widespread replication of ADA’s unique mission. Alex holds a Master’s degree in Teaching the Visually Impaired from Boston College, and a Master’s degree in Curriculum Development (with a concentration in Conflict Resolution) from Lesley University. Alex is co-author of Creative Constructions: technologies that make adaptive design accessible, affordable, inclusive and fun (2001).
Alexandria Wailes’ credits include Broadway: BIG RIVER; NY/Regional: MOTHER COURAGE (w. Meryl Streep), FETES DE LA NUIT, PIPPIN, THE WILD BOYS, SLEEPING BEAUTY WAKES, BIG RIVER, LOVE PERSON and GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES; Television: LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT, NURSE JACKIE, CONVICTION; Film: ALWAYS CHASING LOVE, FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. Ms Wailes received a 2007 LA Ovation nomination for ‘Best Lead Female in a Musical’ for SLEEPING BEAUTY WAKES.
Alexis Kashar is President of The Jewish Deaf Resource Center, (JDRC), a non-profit organization that serves as a bridge between Jews who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and the individuals and organizations which serve the Jewish community throughout North America. She is also the Public Policy Chair for The National Association of the Deaf and serves as President of the Board of Trustees of the NY School for the Deaf. She has been a civil rights and special education attorney since 1993 and is licensed to practice in NY, D.C., and California. She was chosen as 1 of 10 Women to Watch in 2011 by Jewish Women International. Her advocacy work is widely recognized. She is on the Speakers Bureau List for the Jewish Federations of North America and 4 years ago inspired the creation of the UJA-Federation of NY Jewish Community Deaf Interpreting Fund.
Alice Elliott is an Academy Award® nominated director, writer, producer, university level teacher, advocate for the disabled, cinematographer, and the recipient of a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. Her short documentary The Collector of Bedford Street was nominated for an Academy Award® and aired on HBO/Cinemax. Alice was the director, co-producer, and the principal vérité cinematographer on her film Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy which aired on PBS for National Disability Awareness Month. She was invited by the US State Department to screen Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy in Uzbekistan through The American Documentary Showcase, sponsored by the University Film and Video Association. Alice is a full time faculty member at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has been producing documentaries for almost twenty years.
Ben Lewin was born in Poland and grew up in Australia with a childhood passion for photography and creative writing. After a brief career as a criminal lawyer, he studied at the British National Film School, and worked for TV networks in England, France, Australia and the U.S. in documentaries and drama. He has also written and directed three previous feature films, and won various awards. His most recent accomplishment is the award winning feature film, The Sessions, starring Oscar nominees John Hawkes and William H. Macy, and Oscar winner Helen Hunt. His portfolio is diverse and eclectic, including one wife and three children.
Ben Lieman, ATP, MSW – Assistive Technology Specialist
ALS Association Greater New York Chapter
Ben works as the Assistive Technology Specialist at the Chapter, providing information and support to people who have ALS and their families, regarding products that enable easier access to everyday activities. This includes access to the computer for someone with decreased hand or arm capability, or devices that speak for someone who is losing their speech. Ben also manages Equipment Loan program, where hundreds of pieces of medical equipment are donated, cleaned, and distributed to people with ALS, at no cost to them.
He earned his B.S.W. at Colorado State University and his Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. He received his Assistive Technology certification from RESNA.
Ben resides in Morningside Heights with his lovely wife and two energetic children.
Christine Bruno comes to Inclusion in the Arts with a varied background, working nationally and internationally as an actor, director and coach. A member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, she served as the 2011 Co-Chair of the I AM PWD global civil rights campaign and is a member of the SAG National Committee for Performers with Disabilities. As Disability Advocate, Christine has represented Inclusion in the Arts at symposiums, forums, panels, resource events and radio outlets across the country and internationally at arts festivals in Melbourne, Australia and Manchester, England. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Skidmore College, where she received a BA in Theatre and Political Science, holds an MFA in Acting and Directing from the Actors Studio Masters Program at the New School and is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. As a performer and director, Christine has worked throughout the U.S., across the U.K. and in Australia. November 2010 marked the U.K. premiere of her one-woman show, Screw You, Jimmy Choo!, as part of DaDaFest International 2010 in Liverpool and in 2011, Christine completed a run at London’s Oval House Theatre and a U.K. tour of the new musical, Raspberry. She recently worked on the independent features SXSW-nominated This is Where We Live and One Spring.
Dr. Danielle Sheypuk is a clinical psychologist who obtained her Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research in New York. While in graduate school, she once described her NYC dating and relationship experiences as “Sex and the City, disability style.” After snagging the title “Ms. Wheelchair New York” last April, the attractive 35-year-old Manhattanite found herself in demand from a variety of media focused on her particular area of expertise – the psychology of dating, relationships and sexuality among the disabled community.
Combining her expertise with her personal experiences of dating, Danielle has provided a unique angle that has led to appearances in media venues as diverse as The New York Daily News, The Daily Mail (U.K.), SiriusXM Doctor Radio, WNBC’s Weekend Today in NY and WNBC’s New York Nightly News, and WOR Radio’s Valerie’s New York. Danielle was recently video-profiled for the Yahoo! Shine Network’s Secrets to Your Success series; a print profile will shortly appear in the Chelsea Now newspaper; and a major essay about the psychology of dating, relationships and disability will soon be published under Danielle’s byline in the SMA Newsletter.
Now, Danielle has established an innovative private practice. She is on the cutting edge of therapeutic intervention, offering consultations and treatment via Skype therapy. To learn more about Danielle’s private therapy practice, please visit her website at daniellesheypuk.com. Danielle is also at work with her public relations agency, Tranquility49, in association with a NYC-based producer/director, to tape the pilot for a reality-based TV series, focused on Danielle’s urban romantic exploits in league with four attractive, single women friends – each with advanced degrees in psychology.
Daryl Cochrane, MPA – Manager of Communications & Public Policy
ALS Association Greater New York Chapter
Daryl has been with the Chapter for two years, managing its advocacy efforts on the federal, state and local levels, which culminates each May with National ALS Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. He also directs external communications and marketing for the Chapter through coalition building with media and community partners, as well as manages the Chapter’s various social media platforms.
Prior to ALSA, he worked primarily in the HIV/AIDS field, most notably for GMHC. He previously worked for U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler as a Community Representative, working directly with the Lower Manhattan community following the tragedy of September 11, 2001.
Daryl earned his B.A. from American University and Masters of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He resides in Washington Heights.
For over 20 years, David Block has worked as a documentary producer/director and a freelance journalist. He is also legally blind and has been that way since birth.
As a freelance journalist, he has over 1500 articles published in a variety of publications such as, Jazz Journal International, Jerusalem Post, London Times, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Runner’s World, Runner’s Gazette, Running Times and dozens of local magazines and newspapers. During his extensive career, he has interviewed high profile athletes, celebrities, government agents, and musicians such as Kobe Bryant, Bill Cosby, Joe Frazier, Larry Hagman, Florence Henderson, Bruce Jenner, Lee Majors, Sarah Palin’s parents - Charles & Sally Heath-, David Sanborn, McCoy Tyner, and Grover Washington, Jr. He has never shied away from difficult assignments and never missed a deadline.
To date, he has made six documentaries, many of which have been televised and screened at film festivals.
Along with her partner and co-founder Steve Wampler, Elizabeth Wampler has worked tirelessly to create and advance the efforts at The Wampler Foundation. When Stephen climbed the famed El Capitan, a movie was made (under a different name) but, as it turned out, it was not the story the Wamplers wanted to tell. So Elizabeth, made her directorial debut, creating “Wampler’s Ascent” (along with Jacques Spitzer). Once “Wampler’s
Ascent” was complete, Elizabeth quickly retired from movie making. Steve and Elizabeth live in California with their two children.
Ilene Lainer is Executive Director of New York Collaborates for Autism (NYCA) which she co-founded in 2003. Theirs is the only charter school in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving children with autism. Under her leadership, NYCA helped Hunter College open its Autism Training Center which provides education and training to graduate level professionals so they can better help children with autism and their families. NYCA in partnership with NYPresbyterian, Weill Cornell and Columbia Medical Schools is opening the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain in 2013.
NYCA created Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism (PSCA) based on the well-known Project SEARCH model created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. PSCA is currently run by NYCA in partnership with Arc of Westchester, NewYork-Presbyterian and its Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, and Southern Westchester BOCES. The PSCA Model creates a framework for employment tailored to people with autism. The overarching goal is to give adults living with autism the opportunity to live joyful, financially independent, and productive lives.
The first site that has used the framework for employment is the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York-Presbyterian. In 2013, New York Center for Autism will be beta testing this model and in 2014 will be selecting sites at which to disseminate this model across the country. NYCA has plans to develop housing supports for adults with autism in partnership with community organizations.
Ilene is a former attorney with nearly 20 years specializing in labor and employment on behalf of management. Ilene has co-authored and edited articles and publications on services for adults with autism. Ilene and her husband, Steven Kantor, reside in New York City with their two sons, one of whom has autism.
Kate D’Adamo is a community organizer and advocate for folks in the sex trade living in Brooklyn, New York. She has a background in both international and transnational labor, migration, and international and domestic strategies for labor rights. Current, she is a Community Organizer with the Sex Workers Outreach Project – NYC and Sex Workers Action New York (SWOP-NYC & SWANK). In this role, Kate develops programming to promote community building, provide peer support and advance political advocacy to support the rights of people engaged in the sex trade both on and off the job. At Persist Health Project, Kate is the advocacy coordinator, as well as programming supporting workplace health and safety. She has a BA in Political Science from California Polytechnic State University and an MA in International Affairs from The New School University.
As a popular media spokesperson and friend of REEL ABILITIES from the beginning, you might’ve seen Lawrence Carter-Long dancing with Heidi Latsky’s GIMP or interviewed by USA TODAY about sexuality and disability in movies like THE SESSIONS. Maybe it was in the LOS ANGELES TIMES advocating for authentic casting or discussing the high rate of abuse faced by people with disabilities on CNN or as the curator and co-host of “The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film” presented in partnership with INCLUSION IN THE ARTS every Tuesday night last October on TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES. From 2006-2010, Lawrence brought new attention and new audiences to disability in cinema “No handkerchief necessary; no heroism required” with the disTHIS! Film Series. He selected the Emerging Disabled Filmmaker Apprenticeships for the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE/SILVERDOCS from 2009-2011 and provided expert commentary for the educational DVD of the Emmy-nominated documentary MONICA AND DAVID about a couple with Down syndrome preparing to get married. For his advocacy, Lawrence was awarded the Frieda Zames Advocacy Award from NYC Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2009 and the Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award from the AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES in 2010. In May 2011, he moved from NYC to Washington, DC to work with the NATIONAL COUNCIL ON DISABILITY – an independent federal agency – as their Public Affairs Specialist.
Mary Theresa Archbold is an actor and writer who has performed Off Broadway and improv for the acclaimed Second City. Her short film, Jazz Hand, was a finalist in the NBC universal short cuts film festival where she was honored with a Best Actor award and an NBC talent hold.
Kropenin began his career as sound engineer for an illegal radio station onboard a ship sailing the Baltic Sea.
After a Master Degree in Business Administration 1972 at The Stockholm School of Economics, he received a grant to study film producing at the University of Southern California.
Starting 1972, Kropenin has worked on more than 40 feature films. Valuable experience has been gained through work with Ingmar Bergman and in close cooperation with most Swedish and Nordic larger production companies, distributors and Filminstitutes.
Since 1989 Kropenin primarly has been producing for his own company Omega Film & Television AB now named Hob AB.
From 2008, Kropenin is also CEO in Tur med vädret AB, owned together with director Kjell Åke Andersson and scriptwriter Santiago Gil.
Besides producing full-length feature films, Kropenin has initiated and produced a number of prizewinning short films and documentaries.
Directed and produced the recently-completed SOSÚA: MAKE A BETTER WORLD, about a theater project uniting Jewish and Latino teenagers; the award-winning JEWS AND BASEBALL: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY, released theatrically in 2010; A CLASS APART: A MEXICAN AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS STORY, for PBS AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, Imagen Award winner for Best TV Documentary; the critically acclaimed SACCO AND VANZETTI, released theatrically in 2007, winner of the top film prize from the American Historical Association; and THE INTERNATIONALE, short-listed for an Academy Award nomination. Other producing credits include numerous documentaries by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, including the PBS series THE WAR and JAZZ, and the Peabody Award-winning FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT; as well as the labor history film THE UPRISING OF ’34, the Black Panther story PASSIN’ IT ON (winner of twenty film festival prizes), and the Academy Award-winning AMERICAN DREAM.
Dr. Mowry is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education & Human Development at NYU. He is co-director of the Master’s Program in Counseling and Director of the American Sign Language Program. He is active in New York City by serving on the Board of Directors for Barrier Free Living, an agency serving homeless people with disabilities, and Freedom House, serving people with disabilities who have experienced domestic violence. He also serves on the Institutional Review Board for the Lexington School & Center for the Deaf, Inc. He is certified as a rehabilitation counselor.
Rebecca Silver Fisher – Special Events Manager
ALS Association Greater New York Chapter
Rebecca has been involved with The Greater New York Chapter for over three years. Her focuses include marketing, corporate relations, and the National Walk to Defeat ALS program. She also works closely with their Young Professionals Group and spearheads the Walk program’s social media outreach.
She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Sociology, with a minor in Gender Studies. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Rebecca currently resides in Brooklyn.
Rick Guidotti, an award-winning former fashion photographer, has spent the past fifteen years working internationally with advocacy organizations/NGOs, medical schools, universities and other educational institutions to effect a sea-change in societal attitudes towards individuals
living with genetic difference; his work has been published in newspapers, magazines and journals as diverse as Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Life Magazine.
Rick is the founder and director of Positive Exposure, an innovative arts, education and advocacy organization, working with individuals living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral difference. Positive Exposure utilizes the visual arts to significantly impact the fields of genetics, mental health and human rights.
Rick Guidotti’s photographic exhibition, Positive Exposure; The Spirit of Difference, premiered at the People’s Genome Celebration, June 2001, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in DC. and continues to exhibit in galleries, museums and public arenas internationally.
Rick Guidotti’s Positive Exposure photo and video presentation explores the social and
psychological experiences of people living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral conditions of all ages and ethno-cultural heritages. Positive Exposure provides new opportunities to see individuals living with a genetic difference first and foremost as a human being with his/her own challenges rather than as a specific diagnosis/disease entity.
Rick Guidotti and Positive Exposure continue to celebrate the richness and beauty of human diversity.
Roberto Perez Toledo was born in Lanzarote. Four years after seeing E.T (The Extraterrestrial) he started wondering about what it would be like to direct a movie. At the age of twenty, he graduated in Communication Studies by the University of Salamanca. His life was on some sort of a roll at different levels. Roberto was now shooting films, but also shooting them from his own wheelchair.
In the last decade he’s had a long and extensive career in short films, writing, producing and directing a score of short films that won prizes and awards at festivals in five continents. Balloons, Twist, Our own Heaven, Floaters and The screamers are some of his best known works.
Six Points About Emma is his debut on a full-feature film and the result of five years of hard work and a lot of passion.
Sara Schiller is one-half of the duo that is Wooster Collective. Founded in 2001 by Sara and her husband Marc Schiller, Wooster Collective showcases and celebrates ephemeral art placed on streets in cities around the world. The collective’s mission is to discover and document authentic art experiences via salons, lectures, publishing, gallery shows, and online at www.woostercollective.com. In 2006, they organized one of the most significant exhibitions of street art ever at an abandoned building in downtown New York and “11 Spring” was chosen by the NYTimes as one of the top art exhibitions of the year. The Schiller’s have published many books and in 2010 released “Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art” with Taschen. They have been featured in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Good Magazine and many others. As a global voice for street art the Schiller’s have spoken at the Tate Modern, Design Indaba and The New Museum. The Schiller’s have worked closely with Eyebeam Art + Technology and the Graffiti Research Lab for many years. Sara manages their small business, Meet at the Apartment, a creative meeting space in lower Manhattan. They live in downtown New York with their daughters.
Sharyn Felder is a professional photographer, artist, teacher, filmmaker and producer. She received her MFA from NYU/International Center of Photography. She executive produced a tribute album to her late father Doc Pomus, titled “’Til the Night Is Gone,” featuring Lou Reed, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Dion, B.B. King, Rosanne Cash and many others. Sharyn conceived and produced the documentary “A.KA. Doc Pomus.” She is currently developing a Broadway show about her father’s life and has several film projects in the works.
Many years ago, Steve Wampler made the commitment that he would find a away to enable children with disabilities to not only take advantage of the great outdoors, but to embrace it.
Born in Chicago in 1968, with a severe form of cerebral palsy, Steve graduated from the University of California at Davis in Environmental Engineering and lives with his wife and two children in California.Steve set out to climb the biggest rock face in the world, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, which is twice the height of the Empire State Building. In order to climb the mountain, and accomplish this monumental task, Steve would have to do 20,000 pull ups over a 6 day period, sleeping on the sheer face of the mountain and overcoming an enormous fear. On top of all the other obstacles, Steve has the full use of only one limb, his right arm. But Steve is a determined person who was in the US Navy Seals and believes in his favorite quote: “Failure is not an option.”
WILLIAM HECHTER (DIRECTOR/PRODUCER) Will, a native of Winnipeg, received his Masters of Law from Harvard. In 1977, he founded and published Canadian Lawyer Magazine, the leisure magazine for the Canadian legal profession, reaching over 30,000 persons. Over the years, Will has produced concerts with many accomplished artists including Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Neil Diamond. In 1980, he collaborated with Andy Warhol, and together, published an art series of the prima ballerina of the National Ballet; Karen Kain. Will is the founder of Clear Lake Historical Productions, a not for profit documentary film production company. He acted as a Producer for the documentary film JEWS AND BASEBALL: AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY, which received a wide release in both film festivals, and theatrically. The film has also played extensively throughout the PBS television network. Currently, Will is a Director/Producer for Clear Lake’s latest film, A.K.A DOC POMUS. He is no stranger to film, having run an art house cinema.