AMI (Accessible Media Inc.) has announced it’s launching the Disability Screen Office (DSO) aimed at increasing representation on and off screen across the Canadian media landscape.
Funded with support from the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Telefilm, the DSO will work to eliminate accessibility barriers to the industry, and support and amplify creative voices from within the disability community.
AMI says over the past year, it has been leading roundtable discussions with Canadians with disabilities working in or with the screen industry, including creators, writers, directors, producers, and performers, with an objective to obtain unfiltered feedback on accessibility.
“It became apparent that there is currently no single program, incentive or regulation that can cause the screen industry to be fully inclusive for people with disabilities,” said Andrew Morris, Manager, Independent Production, AMI-tv, in a release. “The only way to create meaningful real opportunities for people with disabilities in the media industry is to address the systemic barriers relating to education, industry regulations, insufficient and/or inaccurate representation, public beliefs and attitudes, and full accessibility throughout the media industry.”
With funding from CMF, AMI is undertaking cross-country research that will culminate in the creation of a Best Practices Guide for Disability Engagement in the Canadian Film and Television Industry. The document will be the foundation of the DSO.
Telefilm Canada is providing startup funding to enable the DSO to recruit a board of directors and open an office within the year. Programs to help make writers’ rooms more accessible to screenwriters in the disability community will be announced this summer.
“The creation of the Disability Screen Office will be a significant advancement for meaningful representation, advocacy, and change for creators on both sides of the camera,” said Christa Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO, Telefilm Canada. “The DSO will further contribute to breaking down barriers and shaping a more accessible and equitable screen-based industry within Canada.”
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