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Alex Elegudin

Description

Panelist, Passing the Torch: Advocacy Forum

Co-founder and President of "Wheeling Forward"
Alex has spent almost a decade working as an advocate and mentor in the disability community. In 2003, when Alex was a college sophomore, he was in a in a deer related car accident and sustained a C6 level spinal cord injury. He faced an uphill battle to reclaim his independence, managing his medical needs and working tirelessly to complete college. Alex continued on to Hofstra University Law School, became a successful patent attorney.

Alex co-founded Wheeling Forward in 2011 to help others like himself get the support and resources they need to lead active lives. Today, Alex uses his personal and professional experience to tackle challenging areas of need in the disability community and offer hope to those who turn to him as a mentor and role model.

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Alexandra Prochazka

Description

Producer, At Eye Level

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Alexis Kashar

Description

Moderator, Shabbat Dinner, Movies + Conversation: Reel Signs

Alexis Kashar, President of the Jewish Deaf Research Center, is a civil rights and special education attorney. She holds a B.B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Texas and is licensed to practice in New York, D.C. and California. She is active in several local organizations. Ms. Kashar through her volunteer work with JDRC inspired the creation of the UJA-Federation of NY's first ever Jewish Community Deaf Interpreting Fund. She is the current President of the Board of Trustees for the New York School for the Deaf in White Plains and the chairperson of the Civil Rights committee for the National Association for the Deaf. Alexis lives in Scarsdale with her husband and their three children.

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Anita Hollander

Description

Moderator, Dancing on Wheels

Anita Hollander has performed throughout Europe, Asia & America, at Carnegie Hall, Playwrights Horizons, London’s West End, NY Shakespeare Festival and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. A Helen Hayes Award nominee, she originated the title role of John Belluso’s Gretty Good Time at the Kennedy Center. She's starred Off-Broadway in Kate Moira Ryan’s Bass For Picasso, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers’ Power Plays, and her own solo musical Still Standing, which won the Audience Award at United Solo Festival (CD available on iTunes) and was also presented at The White House. Other stage work includes Ragtime (Emma Goldman), Fiddler on the Roof (Golde), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Blanche) and CATS (her Grizabella made the Broadway World Top Ten in 2013). She’s appeared in TV series such as Gotham, Law & Order, OZ, The Sopranos, All My Children, BBC’s From The Edge, and the feature films Handsome Harry & Musical Chairs.
Anita serves as National Chair of SAG-AFTRA Performers With Disabilities and has worked for over 30 years with Broadway & Hollywood producers for more inclusion in the entertainment industry. She helps select films for ReelAbilities and plays for VSA Playwright Discovery Program. And finally, in addition to tap-dancing in the hilarious musical Nunsense, Anita has performed with Kitty Lunn’s Infinity Dance Theatre and will be appearing here at the festival this evening in On Display with Heidi Latsky Dance.

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Anna Fay

Description

Panelist, Advocacy Forum

Anna is a long-time disability rights activist working for equal access and independence for people with disabilities. She worked in Rehabilitation Medicine for more than 30 years. Was the Administrator of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and Founding Executive Director of Westchester Disabled on The Move, an independent living center in Yonkers, NY.
Founder of American Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, a major national disability rights organization in the 1970s and 1980s.

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Audrey Schading

Description

Carte Blanche

For the last twenty-five years, Ms. Audrey Schading has shared her expertise by instructing adults and children who are blind or have visual disabilities on a variety of subjects, including various levels of braille, electronic braille notetaking, keyboarding, and basic computer training using adaptive braille and speech technology. Other subjects include English as a Second Language, as well as General Educational Development (GED) subjects in English and Spanish
Ms. Schading began working at the Jewish Guild for the Blind (now Lighthouse Guild) in May, 1997,. She immensely enjoys her full-time work there, as well as the many wonderful cultural/educational interactions she receives from
her adult students.She has also worked as an adjunct teacher at the CCVIP center at Baruch, has worked at Visions at Selis Manor in the braille and computer departments, often working with ESL students.

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Becky Curran

Description

Moderator, At Eye Level

Becky Curran is coordinator of EEO & diversity for SAG-AFTRA. Since joining SAG-AFTRA in April 2014, she has assisted with several diversity and inclusion efforts within the entertainment and news media industries. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Curran graduated with a bachelor of science in marketing degree from Providence College in 2006, and then moved to Los Angeles where she worked for one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies, Creative Artists Agency (CAA). After CAA, she worked at CBS Television Studios, where she assisted with the casting of pilots and television series. Curran also served as the marketing director and co-founding board member of the Catalina Film Festival. A prolific public speaker, Curran has spoken for groups throughout the United States and Kenya. She currently resides in New York City, where she serves as the Little People of America New York City chapter president.

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Caitlin Parrish

Description

Director/Writer, The View From Tall

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Cheryl Wills

Description

Moderator, Opening Night Gala: Sanctuary

Cheryl Wills is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist for NY1 News - which is on select cable systems throughout the United States. With 25 years experience as a television journalist, she is the author of the acclaimed Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale. Cheryl is also a blogger for The Huffington Post and she also contributes to Essence.com. On March 25, 2011, Cheryl made history as the first journalist to speak from the iconic stage of the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations for the UN's International Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Atlantic Slave Trade and read from her memoir.

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Christy Cruz

Description

Panelist Passing the Torch: Advocacy Forum

ICS intake and enrollment coordinator Christy Cruz usually defies expectations, whether on the basketball court, in front of the camera, or facilitating “girl talk” among women with disabilities. Her passion for independence – for herself and other women on wheels – is evident in all her pursuits.
Christy participated in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) from 2006-2011 in an all-male dominated league. She uses a wheelchair and leg braces to get around as the result of an allergic reaction she experienced to Motrin, which exacerbated symptoms of the cerebral palsy she was born with. After becoming an ICS member, a volunteer position with the Women’s Health Access Program led to a full-time job with ICS. That, and her many hours spent pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education, eventually led Christy to retire as an athlete in January 2011, but despite her busy schedule, she makes time for her biggest passion – encouraging people with disabilities to advocate for themselves.

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Cody Broadway

Description

Director, 4 Quarters of Silence

Given his passion for film and television production, Cody Broadway sought out the New York Film Academy in 2009 to decide what specifically he wanted to do in the field. “NYFA helped me with the skills and knowledge I needed to have in the real world.”
After film school, Cody set his search for a career in either film or television. After coming across a position in FOX, Cody sent in his NYFA work for consideration. “They were very impressed with my work and brought me on at first as a host and producer of a show called FOX Live,” said Cody. “After about a month, they had an opening for a Promotions and Production Manager. In the position, Cody oversaw the production and promotions for FOX in both Texas markets. He has also helped create and host a show called FOX Live, which airs every Saturday in both markets. “Overall, I have been with FOX for 2 years now and believe that without the academy none of this would be possible.”
Cody currently is a visual producer for KUSA in Denver, Colorado.

3 total Emmys (Editor/Director/Single Spot).

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Danny Woodburn

Title

Speaker/Moderator

Description

Danny Woodburn is an American dwarf film, television and stage actor best known for having played Mickey Abbott on the sitcom Seinfeld. Born in Philadelphia, with more than 120 TV appearances, Woodburn has had recurring roles on shows such as Tracey Takes On, Baywatch, Murder, She Wrote, Charmed, Becker, Bones, and the soap opera Passions. He has also appeared in the films Jingle All the Way, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Death to Smoochy, Employee of the Month and as the character Big Figure in Watchmen.
Woodburn starred as Professor Pixel in Fox’s 1992 Halloween special Count DeClues’ Mystery Castle. It was shot at The Magic Castle. His television starring roles were in the 1997 series Conan the Adventurer (as Otli, one of Conan’s sidekicks), Special Unit 2 and Passions.
A graduate of Temple University School of Communications and Theater, he appeared in numerous stage productions before moving to Los Angeles, among them Indian Wants the Bronx by Israel Horovitz, Scapino, David Mamet’s Revenge of the Space Pandas and a touring company production of Viet Rock. His debut in the New York theater world began with The Soda Jerk. He received the school’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2001.
Woodburn is also an advocate for disabled and Little People issues, and serves on the Screen Actors Guild Performers with Disabilities Committee. As an advocate for persons with disabilities he was keynote speaker at 20101 RespectABILITY Conference and the Inclusion Network of Cincinnati, The Little People’s Research Fund. He was awarded the DREAM Award by the Disability Rights Legal Center in 2009 and the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Harold Russell Award.

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Enosh Cassel

Description

Producer/Protagonist, My Hero Brother

Producer Enosh Cassel, is a graduate in Film and Media at Tel Aviv University, and is the founder and owner of a film Technology Company. In 2011, he took his brother, Hannan, to Nepal on a three-week trek in the Himalayas which he documented on film. Israel's channel 2 featured an item about the trip, which was broadcast on the news and caused a wave of enthusiastic responses throughout the country. Among these, many came from brothers and sisters of special needs children. This inspired Enosh, together with his friend Itamar Peleg, (a guide and organizer of challenging tours around the world), to create the project "My Hero Brother" with the goal of taking a group of brothers and sisters of down syndrome young adults on a similar trek. After a year of preparation and fundraising, a group of eleven sibling pairs embarked on a journey to India for the "journey of a lifetime."

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Eustacia Cutler

Description

Speaker, Spectrum: A Story of the Mind

Eustacia Cutler, Temple Grandin’s mother, earned a B.A. from Harvard, was a band singer at the Pierre Hotel, New York City, performed and composed for NYC cabaret, and wrote school lessons for major TV networks. Her research on autism and other disabilities created the scripts for two WGBH television documentaries: The Disquieted and The Innocents, a prize-winning first. Her 2006 book, A Thorn in My Pocket, describes raising Temple in the conservative world of the ’50s when autistic children were routinely diagnosed as infant schizophrenics.

Her latest book, Autism Old As Time, is a collection of essays written to take the reader on a journey through history, examining the impact of autism on the opinions and solutions of writers, poets, and other prominent individuals from the early 19th century through today. While her first book described raising Temple, this book describes the journey that Ms. Cutler took as she came to terms with autism in her life and saw our ever evolving capacity, as individuals and as a society, to keep re -inventing ourselves. She looks at autism from the point of view of the phoenix: that ancient symbol of culture renewing itself.

Ms. Culter has also hosted a series of Conversations with Eustacia Cutler where she interviews autism experts from around the world. These can viewed on the Temple Grandin Eustacia Cutler Autism Fund website.

Today Cutler lectures nationally and internationally on autism and its relation to the rapidly emerging bio-neurological study of brain plasticity. She discusses what causes rigid behavior in autism, the toll it takes on the family, and how current research into the neural nature of consciousness is pointing toward insightful possibilities of change.

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Frank Sawyer

Description

Moderator, Time to Love, A Backstage Tale

Frank is co-founder and principal at TeleGraphicMedia. He produces media for a wide variety of Fortune 500 clients and is involved in all aspects of production from brainstorming to storyboarding to writing to recording and editing.
Frank’s brother-in-law, Peter Loftis, has Down syndrome and has lived in NYC for almost 5 years. Peter is an artist and founding member of the Gratitude Committee at GiGi’s Playhouse NYC, creating ‘Thank You’ art for donors and volunteers. Peter is part of the Literacy tutoring program at the playhouse and having recently turned 50, is learning to read. Currently, Frank is Board President for GiGi’s Playhouse NYC and is honored to work with the playhouse team and families at this amazing Down syndrome community center, located in Harlem.

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Guido Bilbao

Description

Director, Time to Love, A Backstage Tale

Bilbao began his career as a political journalist and slowly migrated from nonfiction writing to making documentaries. A key theme running through Bilbao’s work is to counter preconceived ideas and find wisdom in unexpected places. Although his films have sometimes provoked controversy, he believes that spurring such reactions comes with his job as a journalist and filmmaker.

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Heidi Latsky

Description

Speaker, Artistic Director/Choreographer/ Performer On Display: A Movement Installation by Heidi Latsky Dance

Heidi Latsky (Artistic Director/Choreographer/ Performer), originally from Montreal, first received recognition as a celebrated principal dancer for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (1987-1993). Her experience there profoundly influenced her style and her philosophy of dance as she developed a reputation in her own right as a choreographer for stage, theater, and film.

Latsky is an advocate for disability rights and serves actively on the Disability Task Force for Dance/NYC. As a core part of its mission and work, HLD is committed to reflecting the diversity that it serves and actively follows the disability rights movement by embracing ‘nothing without us'—that is, its practice in choreography and performance and its composition of board leadership and staff has the representation and full, direct involvement of disabled people. She has sustained partnerships with Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities and the NY Academy of Medicine.

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Ivo Huahua

Description

Director/Writer, Stutter

Ivo Huahua was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He is a writer/director and producer, known for Stutter (2016) and Juanito (2015). He is the winner of the 2016 DGA Student Jury Award, Latino Category, East, for his film "Stutter". He writes short stories in his blog "Pageturner" and was the Casting Director of the feature film Life & Nothing More (2017), directed by award winning director Antonio Mendez Esparza. Ivo pursued a Master in Fine Arts in Film Production in Florida State University - College of Motion Picture Arts, graduating with honors in the Directing Class of 2016. He currently lives in New York City.

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Jacek Lusinski

Description

Director/Writer, Carte Blanche

Jacek Lusiński was born on 30th April 1969 in Pabianice. He graduated from Direction of Photography and Television Production Department at the Film School in Lodz. He is a Member of the Polish Film Makers Association. Director, scriptwriter, he also writes songs. His portfolio includes adaptations for theatre, commercials and documentaries (“September 39") and his debut feature “The Pixels” (2009). Finalist in SCRIPT PRO 2012 – the most prestigious screenwriting competition in Poland.

"Carte Blanche" is his second feature film.

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James Rumsey

Description

Producer, My Feral Heart

James came to producing after 20 years of experience in the film industry across a variety of roles: assistant director, video publisher, script reader, film curator, and writer and director of short films.

He continues to work as a first assistant director as well as a producer, and where possible combines the two roles. Whilst this combined practise was born out of necessity during his time at Vancouver Film School in 2003, James carried the practise on out of choice, up to and including his two feature producing roles to date on My Feral Heart and recent British horror, Hallow's Eve.

A true independent, James opted to self-distributed My Feral Heart managing to make it the UK's #1 cinema-on-demand film of all time in partnership with 'people-powered cinema' platform www.ourscreen.com.

Last November, the British Independent Film Awards recognised James' work on My Feral Heart with a Breakthrough Producer long-list nomination.

Rum Jam Films is the production company that James founded to make short films.Under the Rum Jam FIlms moniker James continues to seek out emerging film making talent (actors, cinematographers, editors, production and sound designers, writers and directors). Talent and story - no matter what the genre, or lack of it - are what drives the current slate of projects being developed by James at Rum Jam Film. These projects include: a road-movie to Libya, a 1936 London-based spy satire, and a darkly comic horror romp.

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Jill Jones

Description

Director, Spectrum: A Story of the Mind

Jill Jones works in Los Angeles as a story producer in post-production for unscripted television, and her clients include PBS, National Geographic, ESPN Films, Bravo, MTV, Animal Planet, Esquire, and ABC. Her work has been screened at international film festivals, and she is an alumni of the Telluride Film Festival symposium. Jill was compelled to create Spectrum as a way to understand and advocate for her cousin, Grant.

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Judit Stalter

Description

Producer, Kills on Wheels

Judit Stalter is one of the most active producers of Hungary, a country that has a very vivid film industry and is target of a tremendous amount of American and international productions as service location. She is running a market leader film production company called Laokoon Filmgroup with 2 co-owners Gábor Sipos and Gábor Rajna. They are mostly known for their groundbreaking holocaust-drama, Son of Saul that has won most of the awards of the world, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a Golden Globe and the Grand Prix in Cannes. Their focus is the development and production of high-quality auteur feature films, creative documentaries and shorts, but they work with a wide range of genres from art-house features to commercials, TV-series and documentaries. They have worked together with Fernando Trueba, Penélope Cruz, Fernando Bovaira, Federico Brugia and Antonio Banderas among others, as a service production company.

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Julie Cohen

Description

Director/Producer, American Veteran

Julie Cohen is a veteran television news producer and documentary filmmaker and the founder of BetterThanFiction Productions. She has directed and produced nine documentaries for WNET, New York City’s PBS station, including two that won the 2012 New York Emmy Awards for Best Arts Program and Best Historical Program. She also produces web videos and television news segments for numerous clients.

Before starting her own production company, Julie was a staff producer at Dateline NBC for nine years, and a producer at Court TV, where she created and produced the weekly program Supreme Court Watch. Along with the New York Emmys, Julie has won two Gracie Awards including the Individual Achievement award for Best News Producer and been nominated for four national Emmys. She graduated from Colgate University and holds master’s degrees from Columbia J School and from Yale Law School, where she was a Knight Fellow.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband Paul M. Barrett, a senior feature writer for Bloomberg Businessweek and author of four non-fiction books, including the New York Times Bestseller Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun.

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Julie Ridge

Description

Moderator, Nise: The Heart of Madness

Julie Ridge, swam the English Channel in 1982. She became the first person to swim two consecutive laps around Manhattan Island in 1983 (earning her a guest appearance on the David Letterman Show). Ridge completed the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in 1984, swam her way into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985 (by swimming one 28.5 mile lap around Manhattan Island each day for 5 consecutive days) and bicycled across America with her father in 1990. She performed on Broadway, is a published author, motivational speaker and a foster and adoptive parent of special and exceptional needs children. Now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 25 years experience, she serves children, adolescents, and families. Ridge facilitates seminars for mental health professionals using movies accurately portraying mental health conditions. She established the Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to living well with mental illness through awareness and understanding, in December 2013 in her father’s honor. Julie lives well with bipolar disorder. Julie is a proud member of the SAG-AFTRA Performers with Disabilities Committee.

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Kieran Coppinger

Description

Actor, Sanctuary

Kieran has a number of stage appearances to date including ugly sister Druzila in Cinders, Paraicin in Lock Up Those Auld Comedians and Doug the hapless theatre technician in Fool Me?

Roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream playing lover Lysander, Francis Flute and Cobweb have demonstrated Kieran’s ability and range from stage, street spectacles, work as an Extra (Ros na Rún & Fair City) to staged reading of a screenplay (lead role of Tom in 84).

Most prominently, Kieran took the co-lead role in Sanctuary, playing lover Larry. Kieran also featured significantly in the IFTA award winning RTE Documentary Somebody To Love (Wildfire Films) alongside his Blue Teapot colleagues. Kieran plays Larry in the feature film of Sanctuary (2016/2017), based on the original stage play.

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Kitty Lunn

Description

Protagonist/Dancer & Artistic Director, Dancing on Wheels

Ms. Lunn's love affair with dance began at the age of eight, when her grandmother took her to see the film The Red Shoes. By the time she was fifteen, she was dancing principal roles with the New Orleans Civic Ballet, where she made her professional debut in Coppelia.

Her work in New Orleans led to a scholarship to the Washington Ballet where she studied and worked with both Mary Day and the great ballet master Edward Caton. Numerous ballets in which she danced include Swan Lake, Giselle, Les Sylphides, and The Nutcracker. While in Washington, Ms. Lunn worked with such dance legends as Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Jose Limon, and Erik Bruhn.

While preparing for her first Broadway show, she slipped on ice, fell down a flight of stairs and broke her back. Now a paraplegic using a wheelchair, Ms. Lunn works diligently on behalf of performing artists with disabilities. In the fall of 1995, she founded Infinity Dance Theater, a non-traditional dance company featuring dancers with disabilities and non-disabled dancers. Infinity Dance Theater is committed to bringing the joy and drama of motion and movement to a new level of inclusion by expanding the boundaries of dance and changing the world's perception of what a dancer is. To this end, she has developed wheelchair dance techniques strongly rooted in and growing out of classical ballet and modern dance.

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Lara Stolman

Description

Director Swim Team

Lara is an award-winning television news and documentary producer, filmmaker and attorney. She is currently directing “Swim Team,” a documentary film about a group of parents who refuse to give up on their autistic teens and discover that sports can transcend disability.

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Lauren Potter

Description

Speaker, Opening night gala

Lauren Elizabeth Potter, born May 10, 1990, is a 26-year-old American film and television actress. Potter is most known for her portrayal of Becky Jackson, the Cheerios co-captain on the hit TV show Glee. Potter is also a strong activist for individuals with developmental disabilities and has traveled around the United States to speak out against bullying. She is connected to such organizations such as The Down Syndrome Association and the American Association of People with Disabilities and is currently a board member for International Best Buddies. She currently resides in Laguna Beach.

Lauren danced before she could walk. She began classes at the age of three and has been doing ballet, tap, jazz and even hip-hop ever since. She made her acting debut in the movie “Mr. Blue Sky,” playing a young ‘Andra Little.’ The producers of “Glee” were quite impressed and offered her a part on the hit FOX television series. Her role as spunky cheerleader ‘Becky Jackson’ continues to open doors for Lauren, and she hopes these doors will open wider still! “Glee” celebrated its 100th anniversary episode in March 2014 culminating with the graduation, and it is currently airing in its sixth and final season.
In 2012, Lauren was nominated for a SAG Award in the category of “Ensemble in a Comedy Series” for her work on “Glee.” She was also honored with the SAG/AFTRA Harold Russell Award at the 2012 Media Access Awards.

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Lawrence Carter-Long

Description

Moderator, Reel Encounters, Moderator, Advocacy Forum, Introduction Kills on Wheels

As a popular media spokesperson and friend of REELABILITIES 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. – See more at: http://newyork.reelabilities.org/archive/#sthash.f5HAE8RE.dpuf

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Len Collin

Description

Director, Sanctuary

Len Collin was born in London and lives in Ireland with dual citizenship. His mother was originally from Easkey County Sligo and he credits her with his storytelling ability. He trained as a professional actor at Arts Educational Drama School, London and is also a production and Direction MA graduate of the Huston Film School, Galway, Ireland. Len started writing for the theater in the early nineties. His award winning play Box, set during the first Gulf War and WW1 brought him to the attention of TV producers and he began writing for that medium.In 2010 he wrote, directed and produced the award winning Irish web series Covies.

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Leslie Mccleave

Description

Director, How Sweet the Sound: The Blind Boys of Alabama

McCleave is an independent filmmaker; has received awards at Sundance, SXSW, Los Angeles, Locarno, and San Francisco film festivals; films screened at New Directors/New Films at MoMA and broadcast on Sundance Channel and FilmFour UK; recipient of grants from NEA, Creative Capital Foundation, and Radziwill Documentary Fund.

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Madoka Raine

Description

Director, Jed's Day

Madoka Raine began her career as an actor, working in NYC and LA in both Film and Television. After making appearances in numerous indie films, she was inspired to write. She wrote a feature film that was a finalist for the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program. She then wrote, produced, and directed “Jumping In,” which debuted at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival – Short Film Corner. Her most recent project is “Happy 40th,” a feature film that she also wrote, produced, and directed. It world premiered at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival, and has since been invited to many festivals and garnered many awards.

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Majo Pais

Description

Protagonist, Theater Actress, Time to Love, A Backstage Tale

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Mario Moran

Description

Protagonist, The Rebound

Mario Moran is a passionate athlete who moved to Miami after being shot during a street altercation in his tough northern New Jersey hometown. Dealing with the separation from his family and physically challenged in a new city, Mario found a place with the Miami Heat Wheels through a spinal cord injury support group, and realized that it was his ticket to a new beginning.

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Maysoon Zayid

Description

Panelist, Reel Diversity

Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, disability advocate, and writer. She is a graduate of and a Guest Comedian in Residence at Arizona State University. Maysoon is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time On Air Contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has most recently appeared on Oprah Winfrey Networks In Deep Shift, 60 Minutes, and VICE. She is currently developing a comedy series with Hazy Mills Productions. Maysoon had the number one TED Talk of 2014 and was named 1 of 100 Women of 2015 by BBC. As a professional comedian, She has performed in top New York clubs and has toured extensively at home and abroad. She was a headliner on the Arabs Gone Wild Comedy Tour and The Muslims Are Coming Tour. Maysoon appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan and is the founder of Maysoon’s Kids, a scholarship and wellness program for disabled refugee children. Maysoon walked in New York Fashion Week and is proud to be an ambassador for Kara Ross’s Diamonds Unleashed www.Maysoon.com.

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Michael Lukaszewskyj

Description

Producer, 4 Quarters of Silence

Throughout his life, Michael Lukaszewskyj has had a love for the lens. The veteran photojournalist received his first camera as a gift when was a young boy. Fascinated by this art form, Michael continued to capture still photographs well into his teens, until a chance encounter with a television crew in his native Chicago. That’s when Michael decided to ditch the still photographs and instead look into a video camera.
Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and television at Southern Illinois University. His first job out of college was at Cablevision of Chicago where he produced and directed local community shows. Determined to dig deeper into his art, Michael moved to West Texas to work as a photojournalist. There he honed his craft in all areas of photojournalism, learning the art of storytelling through video. Michael gained valuable experience that would lead him to an illustrious career with NBC, ABC, and CBS. His love for the lens has earned him multiple Lone Star Emmys, a Katie, and a Houston Press Club, recognizing excellence in television broadcasting.

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Mirella Arias

Description

Producer, Time to Love, A Backstage Tale

Mirella is the executive producer of "Time to Love, A Backstage Tale" and is president of Down Panama, the non profite organization promoting the rights of people living with down syndrome in Panama

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Qingzi Fan

Description

Director, Dancing on Wheels

Qingzi Fan is a New York based independent filmmaker. She was born in a small city of China and raised in Shanghai. After getting her M.A, in Documentary filmmaking from NYU, she continues producing documentaries on important social and cultural issues. Her documentary short "DANCING ON WHEELS", featuring a paraplegic dancer Kitty Lunn, was officially selected in the 9th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival. Her most recent documentary "ONE WAY HOME" about two Tibetan students studying in Mainland China received national acclaim.

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Rich Hinz

Description

Actor, Jed's Day

Rich has worked in college, community and professional theatre for the past 20 years. He holds a masters degree in Theatre from Central Washington University. In addition to his theatre experience, Rich's work can be seen in industrial projects, student films and commercial voiceover.

Rich is an actor with cerebral palsy, a condition manifested in a unique walk and posture and muscular tremors. These physical traits add depth to the roles he plays and produce truly unique and entertaining characters. He has played many roles that are not typically given to a person with a disability. For him to be cast in these roles speaks to his ability as an actor. No special accommodations are necessary.

Rich also serves on the board of directors for the Little Theatre of Walla Walla and is an accomplished painter whose work can be found in private collections in the Pacific Northwest.

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Richard Ellenson

Description

Moderator, Kills on Wheels

Richard Ellenson brings enormous vision and energy to his position as CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.He has greatly expanded CPF’s range of work as well as its profile. He has also brought increased attention to the needs of people with CP and disabilities though the Foundation’s celebrity-studded “Just Say Hi” media campaign. Prior to joining CPF, Richard was founder and CEO of two assistive technology companies (Panther and Blink Twice) which helped transform and reimagine the field of assistive technology.

Richard is the father of a 19-year-old son who has Cerebral Palsy. He has worked tirelessly to create awareness about people with disabilities and to share stories about their spirited and resilient lives. He and his son have been featured as ABC World News People of the Year, in a New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story, and as a feature segment on ESPN’s E: 60. Prior to this work, Richard was an advertising executive who created memorable campaigns for brands such as American Express and Remy Martin, and who penned the classic line, “It’s Not TV. It’s HBO.”

Richard has been honored with the Visionary Leadership Award from Resources for Children with Special Needs, as Caregiver of the Year by United Cerebral Palsy of NYC, and by many other organizations within the world of disabilities.

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RJ Mitte

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Speaker

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RJ Mitte is an American actor and producer. He is best known for his role as Walter White Jr. on the AMC series Breaking Bad. Like his character on the show, he has cerebral palsy. At the 2013 Media Access Awards, Mitte received the SAG-AFTRA Award for his portrayal of Walter White Jr. on the series and also presented the eponymous RJ Mitte Diversity Award.
The Screen Actors Guild named Mitte as the spokesman for actors with disabilities and he is the representative of “Inclusion in the Arts and Media of Performers with Disabilities”, which employs artists with disabilities. Mitte has been involved in multiple projects as producer and actor.

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Roberto Berliner

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Director, Nise: The Heart of Madness

Roberto Berliner directs documentaries, advertisements, and music videos for popular bands in Brazil. In 1978 he began working in film and video, and later became the director of Anteve, a production company documenting musical events within the Rio performance space "Circo Voador." Berliner is well known for his 1988 documentary, Angola, and is a founding partner of the non-profit organization TV Zero. You Are What You Are Born For forms part of a series of work documenting street musicians.

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Scott Chesney

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Moderator, The Rebound

Scott Chesney, a two-time world traveler and a navigator of life with paralysis for 31 years, has presented to over 1.5 million people in 38 countries.
After awakening to paralysis at the age of 15 from a sudden spinal stroke, Scott has amassed a resume of transformational experiences, powerful insights, and inspiring stories that cut to the core of the human spirit. He has become a nationally and internationally recognized workshop and keynote presenter, and his positive and inspiring messages have changed countless lives. His insights have been coveted and applauded by Fortune 500 corporations, hospitals/rehab centers, associations, audiences at The United Nations, The Pentagon and the FBI, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools.
Realizing that his audience members wanted more individual guidance after his presentations, Scott became a professional Life Coach. As a person who skydives, walks on hot coals on his hands, para-sails, and continues to engage in many other adventures around the world, Scott prides himself of living life to its fullest and encourages and trains audiences and clients to do the same.
Most recently, Scott became the Spokesman for Rowheels, to help promote a revolutionary wheel for wheelchairs that is a game-changer for people with disabilities. In addition, Scott became President of Raise Hope Foundation in 2011 that trains, mentors, and places people with disabilities and veterans for competitive careers. He is also an Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, an Ambassador for Kessler Foundation, a member of the Seton Hall University Leadership Advisory Council, and a member of the Board of Trustees for The Knowles Foundation. He has also served on the Board of Trustees for Children’s Specialized Hospital. Scott graduated from Seton Hall University in 1992 with a B.A. degree in Communications.

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Shaina Allen

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Director / DP / Editor, The Rebound

Shaina Allen is an award-winning director, DP and editor focused on telling impactful stories with creativity and purpose. Her experience includes a broad range of work in documentary and cinematic storytelling, editing for sports and news broadcasting, creative content production, and award-winning lifestyle cinematography. She is a graduate of James Madison's University's School of Media Arts and Design (GO DUKES!), currently Creative Director and Co-founder of Shaina Koren Cinematography.

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Venkat Motupalli

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American Veteran

Venkat Motupalli is the Chief Information Officer at DVS. In that role, he is charged with designing, implementing, and managing transformational digital products in service of New York City's veterans and their families. Most recently, he completed original research to predict and preempt incidences of homelessness among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan using predictive analytics. Before joining Team DVS, Motupalli was an operations manager at Enerpac, a global high-force hydraulics manufacturing and engineering firm. Prior to that, Motupalli served as the operations functional lead for critical projects at Honeywell's National Security Campus in Kansas City.
Beginning his professional career as an enlisted Infantryman with the 2nd Brigade of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Motupalli returned to the unit after earning his commission, where he served as a Field Artillery and Intelligence officer until 2012. He deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, serving in the Triangle of Death and both the Baghdad and Kandahar surges. He earned the Combat Infantryman's Badge and is a Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment.
Motupalli holds a Master's degree in Applied Urban Science and Informatics from New York University, a Master's degree in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas, and a Bachelor of Science in Physics from the United States Military Academy.

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William H. Macy

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Speaker

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William H. Macy is an actor, screenwriter, teacher and theater director, known for Fargo (1996), Shameless (2011) and Jurassic Park III (2001). Macy has won two Emmy Awards and a Screen Actors Guild Award throughout his career. Since 2011, he has played the main character in the Showtime television series Shameless. Macy received outstanding critical acclaim for his role as Bill Porter in TNT’s Door to Door, opposite Kyra Sedgwick, Helen Mirren, Kathy Baker and Felicity Huffman. The movie, which Macy also co-wrote, tells the true story of Porter, an award-winning door-to-door salesman with cerebral palsy.

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Xian Horn

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Speaker, Advocacy Program

Xian Horn is a joyful half-Asian woman with Cerebral Palsy serving as writer, mentor, teacher, and positivity activist. A member of an international network of extraordinary women, 85 Broads, she was heralded by founder Janet Hanson as an “amazing role model for all women.”
With her personal stories and ongoing mentoring work, Xian Horn is invested in contributing positively to self-esteem and the collective self-image, especially for women. Starting in 2010 with a popular YouTube video, Xian has called for the inclusion of people with disabilities in various beauty campaigns.
In June of 2014, Xian was the first ever alumni Commencement Speaker at NYC Lab School, her alma mater. She has spoken at the Dove Self-Esteem Weekend, New York Life’s Enable Program, ReelAbilities Film Festival, UJA Federation, NYU, BMCC, and the JCC Manhattan, among others.