Employable Me wins big at Banff World Media Festival

Andrew and Penny hold the award they received from the festival.

Winning an award is never the goal when creating a television series. But it certainly doesn’t hurt, and signifies people are embracing and supporting your work. 

Season one of Accessible Media Inc.’s (AMI) Employable Me was named Lifestyle Program of the year at the 2018 Banff World Media Festival’s Rockie Awards on Monday, June 11, at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The annual Program Competition Ceremony celebrates the best in television and digital content from more than 45 countries around the world.

“I was surprised,” says Penny Wheelwright, Employable Me’s producer and vice president of Thomas Howe Associates, the company behind the series. “We were thrilled. It’s been a wonderful show to do, it’s been very rewarding and it was great to get the recognition.” Adapted from the British series of the same name, AMI-tv’s six-episode Employable Me introduces viewers to Canadians who are willing to work but are held back because of their disability. Each one-hour episode features two job seekers living with vision loss or a neurological condition such as Tourette Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Down Syndrome, autism or ADHD.

In order to be accessible for individuals living with vision loss, Employable Me features Integrated Described Video, where description is incorporated during the production phase, eliminating the need for a secondary audio track. Employable Me is the inspiring story of Canadians who want to find gainful employment and the people who help them achieve success.

“Employable Me really pushes the needle forward with the conversation about inclusivity in society when it comes to employment,” says Andrew Morris, AMI’s Manager of Commissioned Content. “Our role is to enable people who are blind and partially sighted to participate in the media and that extends to other people with disabilities as well. We want to reflect that in our content and this show was the perfect opportunity to do that.”

“If you can see beyond the disability, you will be incredibly surprised by the amazing talents that a lot of our job seekers have,” Wheelwright says. “We focus on their strengths, not on their weaknesses.” Produced by Thomas Howe Associates in partnership with AMI and TVO, and licensed by all3media international, principal photography on season two of Employable Me is currently underway with 12 new job seekers. Morris says there is more diversity in neurological conditions and the participants the producers have found through advocacy groups thanks to interest gained from season one. The format for season two has been tweaked slightly, allowing for what Morris calls “amazing storytelling.”

“If you liked season one, season two is going to blow you away,” he says.

Full Season 1 episodes of Employable Me are available online at AMI.ca or via the AMI app available through the Apple app store.

Keywords: AMI, Employable Me, Banff, Banff World Media Festival, Rockie Award