And the winners of the Disability Film Challenge are…!

Disability-Film-Challenge-LOGOI’d like to introduce Nic Novicki, the founder of the Disability Film Challenge, a 48-hour short film competition. The film challenge’s purpose is to motivate disabled and non-disabled film makers to be proactive in the film industry and to supply them with a means of exposure for themselves and their projects. Plus, it’s fun and there are prizes! Nic is announcing the winners here today on Easter Seals blog.

I am a little person actor, comedian, and producer who has been working in the industry since the age of 7.  Though I have been lucky enough to work as an actor on shows such as Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos, early on in my career I didn’t always get offered the best parts or would get typecast due to my stature. So I started worked behind the scenes and produced features, short films, web series, live events, and commercials.

Nic Novicki

Nic Novicki

After learning how to produce, I soon realized that I had to take my career in my own hands in order to get the types of roles and projects that were interesting and challenged me.  Today, I am a proud member of the Producers Guild of America and recently when I was participating in a 48-hour film race for the Producers Guild, it occurred to me that I might have been the only filmmaker with a disability that was going to be making a film.

I was reminded once again that the disability community is not represented enough in the mainstream media.  One in five people have some form of disability, yet people with disabilities represent less than one percent of characters on TV shows and movies.  It is even rare to see people with disabilities behind the scenes.

I thought to myself, if I come up with a short film challenge that incorporates people with disabilities, I can help them get further involved in the business and provide visibility to an underrepresented and vibrant community.

The idea behind The Disability Film Challenge is to give both disabled and non-disabled filmmakers a reason to work together. Every film has to have an actor, writer, director, producer, or crew member with a disability. 

The winning films screen at the world renowned TCL Chinese Theater during the Hollyshorts Film Festival and filmmakers are set up with big-time Hollywood mentors as well as winning Dell computer packages.

The challenge, now in its second year, keeps growing!  This year we had three times the amount of people enter as we did last year.
After a difficult selection process I am proud to announce the winners of the 2nd Disability Film Challenge

The 2015 Disability Film Challenge Winners

Best Film: Bumblebees
Jenna Kanell, the writer, director and producer of Bumblebees will receive a Dell Precision M4800 Mobile Workstation and will be mentored by Producer Lynn Hendee (Ender’s Game) who is the President of Chartoff Productions.

Best Filmmaker: Passengers
Dickie Hearts wrote, directed, edited, produced and starred in Passengers.  He will receive a Dell Venue tablet and be mentored by Peter Farrelly (Dumb and Dumber, Something About Marry, etc).

Best Actor: Spanish Love 101
Steve Way who played Steve in Spanish Love 101 will receive mentorship from casting director Pam Dixon.

Social Media Award: I Understand You
Stephen and Lori Saux won the social media award for creating the best marketing campaign.  In the 2 weeks of the campaign they were able to get over 6,000 youtube views, through: twitter, blogs, facebook, and a website they created for their film. They will receive a Dell Venue Tablet and a meeting with Bret Ingraham who is a Manager of Public Relations at Mattel, Inc.

On top of doing the 48-hour film challenge we are also doing free workshops to give disabled filmmakers more skills throughout the year.  Last year we did an editing workshop at the Producers Guild of America:

This year we did a camera and editing workshop at Youtube Space LA too.

We are looking forward to doing more workshops and challenges in the future and getting more disabled people involved in the media!  It is so exciting to me to see the progress so far and I already can’t wait for next year!


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