Accessible Writers’ Lab gives its case study report
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), in partnership with ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto and the Miles Nadal JCC, and sponsored by the Canada Media Fund (CMF), has revealed the results of its first-ever Accessible Writers’ Lab case study report.
The Accessible Writers’ Lab, which completed its study late last year, is an innovative, national lab for writers with disabilities and established showrunners/senior writers to experiment with what an accessible TV writers’ room might look like, breaking down barriers and creating pathways for creatives in the disability community to thrive in the Canadian television industry.
The Accessible Writers’ Lab is designed and led by multi-award-winning disabled writer, performer and consultant Ophira Calof. The initiative is designed to address those barriers by focusing on collective accessibility, fostering relationships and knowledge sharing and culminated in the case study report.
The Laboratoire de scénarisation accessible 2022 Edition is a parallel French-language program, inspired by the Accessible Writers’ Lab and administered by l’Académie canadienne du cinéma et de la television - section Québec, sponsored by Telefilm.
Among the groups’ key findings:
• Conventional working structures, including long days and production overtime, were frequently cited as inaccessible for many disabled creatives
• Intentionally accessible, low or no cost, disability-led training opportunities are in great demand
• Virtual writing rooms reduce barriers for many writers
• Many writers reported that they are routinely solicited as consultants on disability-focused productions, instead of as credited writers
• To avoid tokenism and exploitative representations, it is key to hire multiple writers with lived experience of disability, coming from a variety of perspectives
The English and French reports can be accessed here.
“Through this program it became clear that embracing accessibility leads to innovation,” says Ophira Calof. “This allows writers to bring their full selves to the creative process and increases opportunities for the abundance of talented disabled writers across Canada to share their stories.”
The participants in the Accessible Writers’ Lab were Connor Yuzwenko-Martin, Wake Lloire, Carrie Cutforth, M.C Cruz, Kitoko Mai and Katarina Ziervogel.
A free webinar presentation on key learnings from the Accessible Writers’ Lab report, led by Creative Director Ophira Calof and made possible with the support of the Writers’ Guild of Canada will take place on Thursday, March 30, 2023, at noon EST. To register for the webinar, please click here.
ASL Interpretation and auto-captioning will be provided. If you have other accessibility requests, please email email@example.com.
Presenting Sponsor: Canada Media Fund
The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca.
Industry Partner: Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through accessible media, reflection and portrayal. To learn more visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.
Presenting Partner: ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto
Presented by the Wagner Green Centre for Access & Inclusion at the Miles Nadal JCC in Toronto, the ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto is dedicated to showcasing the work and stories of Deaf and/or disabled communities and filmmakers from around the world.
About the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is the largest non-profit professional arts organization in Canada with a membership of more than 4,000 emerging and established industry professionals. Founded in 1979, the Canadian Academy is dedicated to recognizing, celebrating, and advocating for Canadian talent in the film, television, and digital media sectors while remaining committed to nurturing all levels of talent through professional training, networking opportunities, and guidance. The Canadian Academy produces the Canadian Screen Awards, bringing together the screen-based industries annually to honour and celebrate the country’s top talent during Canadian Screen Week. The Académie – section Québec is focused on its francophone members. It provides professional development programs as well as networking opportunities that contribute to industry growth, inclusion and mentorship. Additionally, it produces the Gémeaux Awards, which celebrate the best in French-language television and digital productions in Canada. For information on membership and programming visit academie.ca.
About Telefilm Canada
As a Partner of Choice, Telefilm Canada is a Crown corporation dedicated to the success of Canada’s audiovisual industry, fostering access and excellence by delivering programs that support cultural resonance and audience engagement. With a lens of equity, inclusivity and sustainability, Telefilm bolsters dynamic companies and a range of creative talent at home and around the world. Telefilm also makes recommendations regarding the certification of audiovisual coproduction treaties to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Launched in 2012, the Talent Fund raises private donations which principally support emerging talent. Visit telefilm.ca and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/Telefilm_Canada and on Facebook at facebook.com/telefilmcanada.
For media inquiries and information, please contact:
Greg David, Communications Specialist, Accessible Media Inc., Greg.David@ami.ca, 647-417-0631