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tv   QA Nic Novicki Easterseals Disability Film Challenge  CSPAN  October 19, 2020 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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host: the easterseals disability film challenge was your project. what is the contest? guest: thank you for having me on. the easterseals disability film challenge is a weekend film competition were over the course of a weekend, participants create films that have somebody with a disability with a product or camera. these are narrative films. this year, because of the coronavirus, we ultimately made it a documentary short film competition where they can make it from the safety of their home. we have the most film submitted ever submitted this year. i am really excited. host: how did the contest get started? guest: background on me. i am sitting, but i am a little person. i am 3'10". i'm an actor, comedian, producer. ultimately, it was my dream to act. i went to business school and i continued to do standup and acting and i learned early in my career that i have to be in charge of all facets of my career.
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trading my own content. ultimately that led to work for me. i am lucky that i have been in tv shows and movies, but ultimately a lot of my work has been through me creating my own content. work leads to work. i have been in over 40 tv shows and movies. i have worked with martin scorsese, the safdie brothers. i looked around and wondered, why aren't more people with disabilities making content? i created the disability films challenge as a way to jumpstart other people with disabilities to create their own content and ultimately change the way the world views and defines disability. i have been honored -- i partnered with easterseals in 2017. easterseals is the nation's largest disability service organization. they have been around for 100
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years, changing the way the world views disability, and together we have taken this challenge to the next level. it has created jobs for people, but ultimately, what is great about the film challenge is that everyone is aware of the problem. there is a lack of opportunity for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera. the easterseals disability film challenge is a tangible solution where people with disabilities can get involved. it has been amazing. to see the growth of it, but ultimately it has been -- which continues to make amazing films year after year and ultimately spread this inclusion. host: how did the partnership with easterseals come about? what did they bring to the table, that enhanced what you had been doing as an individual? guest: i started the disabilities film challenge in 2013. 2014 was our first film challenge, and it was small the first year.
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what i got out of that first year was the impact that it had on all the people with disabilities that took part. they asked, when is the next one? i was like wow, and ultimately i saw there was something here. we had a mentor in year two, with peter farley. he came on board to mentor the best filmmaker in 2015. it continued to grow and got bigger and bigger. easterseals, their mission is to change the way the world views and defines disability. i have been lucky that i have been able to speak on many inclusion summits and i have been a disability rights activist since i was a kid, speaking at the 11th anniversary of the disability act. i came across easterseals and it
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was a perfect fit. the fact that their mission is to change the way the world views and defines disability, it is really what this film challenge is doing and they really got on board with helping create opportunities for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera. it has been amazing because not only is easterseals of southern california the largest disabilities organization in southern california, they serve 13,000 individuals with disabilities, but ultimately, easterseals has 65 different affiliates around the country. the fact that i have been able to tap into that network of people who care about disability inclusion -- because we are doing screenings around the country at film festivals, we have a virtual screening, an
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academy award qualifying festival in indiana. for example, when i go there. not this year, but because this is a virtual year. when i go there, typically, i am able to harness that easterseals affiliate and pack out the theater with people that they care about and want to see these great films. because ultimately, there is a real lack of authentic disability inclusion in the entertainment industry. i'm honored that the easterseals disability film challenge has been there to fill that void. host: why is inclusion in the film industry important? guest: we want to see ourselves represented. everyone does. inclusion has become a hot topic. historically, people with disabilities have not been included in these inclusion conversations. i am not sure if you are familiar, but the cdc put out a
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study that said one in four americans, 61 million americans have some form of disability. yet, we are in less than 3% of film and tv shows and the majority of those roles are portrayed by nondisabled actors. disability,with a we want to see ourselves represented because ultimately, not only are we seeing ourselves represented, but it is going to help destigmatize disability. representation in general gets society used to everybody. it makes the world a more inclusive place. the fact that people with disabilities are so underrepresented, we have nothing but optimistic -- we are going to continue to grow and get more opportunities. the percentages right now are so
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low, but through the easterseals disability film challenge, i am honored that we are changing those percentages. people0 plus million is a huge tent. what brings that many people together as a community? guest: 61 million americans -- what is interesting about that is that the intersectionality of disability, that includes people of all different races, genders, ethnicities, religion. we are talking about a huge percentage of people with disabilities. in terms of what brings all that group together, i would say the entertainment industry. what better platform than to be able to have film and tv where speechless,ow like where you have the title role in
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a tv show. if you have cerebral palsy, which intersects all different races, genders, ethnicities. if you have it and you see him on abc, then you are able to see yourself. i feel like it is the media that ultimately has an amazing what form -- platform of getting behind the disabilities community. beyond that, embracing these roles and these portrayals. host: can you tell me what are two specific stories that you know have come about in the -- as a result of your film challenge? guest: i am honored that there have been hundreds of films created for the easterseals disability film challenge and it has led to countless opportunities for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera. i would like to give one specific example. we give amazing prizes each year. we have grants, we have sony
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cameras. have adobee crea -- creative clouds we are giving away. but we are also giving big mental readings. peter farley has really been a mentor and supporter of the easterseals disability film challenge since the beginning. and so, two years ago, he approached us and said, nic, we have an amazing role. it is a recurring role in a tv show and it is for a little person actress. do you know anybody that would be good for this? we were able to take over 10 films and he was able to watch all these films and see that an -- see them in action. ultimately, a major recurring role went to sophia cheyenne, a
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little person from new york city who has been a theater actress who has not had the opportunity to really showcase herself up until she randomly makes the film for the easterseals disability film challenge and then cut to her being now in her second year recurring on the tv show shot in canada. a major career defining role. that's one example. we also have so many examples of people -- another is a deaf filmmaker. he used his film and ultimately he used it to submit to hbo's project greenlight, which ended up winning. these are just some examples. we have another participant that is going to be in another major starring role in a netflix film next year. they found out about her through the film challenge.
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this actress was a teenager, ifn't have an agent, and she had not made a film for the film challenge, she would not have been discovered or had this amazing opportunity to be in a netflix film. host: you and easterseals have given us the right to show the award-winning films this year. i want to go through some of the mecahnics -- mechanics of the contest. first of all, how many submissions did you get this year? guest: this year, we had a record-breaking -- 87 amazing films that were created. as i said earlier, this is a timed film competition. what i know through my career is that it is much easier to get volunteers because this is all volunteer driven to take part in ultimately making a film and volunteer for a short period of time rather than months. typically, you have one weekend to make a film. this year, because of the coronavirus, we changed everything so that it was safe for all of our participants.
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the safety of our participants was the main priority. we allowed people to use home footage, footage that we had rights to, and we gave people five days to make a film that could not be longer than five minutes. extra give people an minute with credits. people had five days to create a film and it had to be authentically portraying people with disabilities and this year was a documentary short film competition. i think you will be pleasantly surprised with the meaningful and really heartfelt films that you see with this year's competition.
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you are about to see the winning films from this year's film challenge, which will screen around the world. i highly encourage you all to go to our youtube channel and search easterseals disability film challenge. films.87 amazing these are personal, entertaining, heartfelt, and they deserve more eyeballs. host: the judges -- who sits in judgment of these films? who do you bring to the table to ensure quality? guest: we are honored that we have an amazing jury of judges on board with the easterseals disability film challenge. some of these individuals are really the top actors, directors, producers with his -- with disabilities, but also without. we have danny woodburn, a little
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person actor/activist, rj mitte from breaking bad. we also have a director directing a giant jennifer lopez/owen wilson movie, who has created opportunities for actors with disabilities. film festival judges, the founder and ceo of imdb, one of our judges this year. as well as hollywood reporter critics. we have a wide variety of judges. it is judges with and without disabilities. ultimately, this film challenge is all about authenticity. the disability community as a part of every aspect of this film challenge.
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host: the first video i am going to show our audience is a montage of the finalists. how many categories of winners do you have? guest: great question. we had three this year. this year, we had best film, the oscar for best film. we had best editor. and we had best awareness campaign. the best awareness campaign is a campaign where each of the individuals are trying to get as many likes, views, and shares of their film. ultimately, the most important thing is about us changing the way the world views disability and the best way to do that is through exposure. many of our participants were getting thousands and thousands of lights, views, and shares their instagram, facebook, and youtube postings of the films. we actually had this best editor
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category because we usually have best actor and best director. there are no best actors in documentary films, so we decided, this is a documentary competition from home. so we decided to make the best editor category to really honor those individuals that are doing a lot of the hard labor in documentary films. we were proud that we had so many disabled editors, including some of the nominated editors. host: let's watch the montage of the finalists. [video clip] >> the situation does not define me. >> blindness for me means strength and power because anybody i have met with the disability has always been so strong.
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we are the great life hackers and so when something does not work, we problem solve, come up with solutions. >> i just called the social security administration to see how close i am to losing my caregiver. they do not answer the phone, and they do not let you leave a message. i do not know what i am supposed to do. i am patrick and when i was in full -- when i was 14 months old, i was in an accident. >> i think an invisible illness makes you feel so alone for so many reasons. nobody believes that you have significant challenges. in my case, people found out i was not the pretty porcelain doll i looked like on the outside. i lost friends because i was too intense or was not available for social events because i was going through a rough period. >> let me describe for a second what adhd is like. i might be talking to you right now about filmmaking and in the
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back of my mind, there is a voice telling me did you walk the dog, did you return that phone call, or did you have for dinner? what is your problem? you should be able to figure this out. did you pay the rent? work hard. focus. focus. >> that was my second time having to start over. back to zero. this time, i had half of myself. i had to relearn how to dress, use the bathroom, wash my clothes, relearn how to cook. i was going through phases of life that i had already gone through. >> i remember the first time i was called disabled. we were on a warner bros. lot and we got in trouble because we were all parking and we all got tickets. one of my coworkers said you
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policemess with the "are you going, disabled a girl?" and that was the first time that someone as an adult had called me disabled. >> she kind of reminds me -- >> i knew she was going to be nice because of the way she looks. >> she has a wonderful sense of humor. >> it was refreshing to see people form an opinion about me that had nothing to do with my disability. >> did you happen to notice she was using a wheelchair? >> no. >> she is a child and has the same wants and needs and desires as other kids. her brain and her body are a but the wayrent, she operates in the world is not the same. feel happy? >> i'm happy too. >> she is on her very own singular path.
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host: that is a look at some of the people participating in this year's easterseals disability film challenge. we are talking with nic novicki, the creator of the film challenge in its seventh year. over those seven years, what has happened with accessibility of production tools that your contestants need to make these films? guest: that is a great point. the accessibility is really something that is important to us in the disability community. luckily, we have that legislation that celebrated its 37th anniversary of the americans with disabilities act. ultimately, accessibility is the law. we really encourage all individuals, all business owners, to follow the law and be thoughtful of consumers that have disabilities.
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61 million americans have some form of disability. forssibility has been huge the film challenge, and it's a bit unique in the sense that many of the movie theaters around the country that we screen are fully accessible and have handicap seating. americansw the with disabilities act. contest, we've packed the house with people with disabilities. at times, we showed up at a movie theater with 70 wheelchairs in small movie theaters and so, the movie theaters are like whoa, wait a minute, we have three handicap seats here. we have been strategic and ultimately thinking about entrepreneurship in how we can make these screenings fully accessible.
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there have been times that we have gone to movie theaters and typically, you will do a q&a with the filmmakers and the casting crew at the bottom of the movie theater right by the screening. few movie theaters have a seats or stairs, so if you have a wheelchair, you cannot get down there. what we will do is we will do our q&a in the middle. we just say, everybody in the front, go in the back so you can see the q&a. sometimes we'll make a joke about it, or the individuals in the wheelchairs will make a joke about it. ultimately, we want to be there and there is nothing that is going to stop us from our mission of creating more opportunities for individuals with disabilities. ultimately to have more exposure.
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in terms of acceptability, we make sure that all of our content is open captioned. we are making our films open caption so that the deaf community can fully enjoy these films. that is for all of our films and every thing we post on our facebook, youtube, and instagram challenge. accessibility is very important in what we do. host: how do the people who create the software create more accessibility tools for filmmakers? guest: adobe is really leading the way in innovative technology. i spoke at a ucla conference with one of their team members at adobe.
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we had a real in-depth discussion about all these accessibility tools and how they are continually innovating. ultimately, they are saying this is a market -- there is a business case for us being fully inclusive. dell has been a sponsor since year one of the film challenge, offering computers and there every step of the way. making sure we can continue to have our awards ceremony this year even though we had to do a virtual awards ceremony. there was so much technology and all -- involved, having logos, zooming in our finalists and winners so that they can appear live.
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during this virtual year, i called this the virtual year because i am doing so many zooms and video chats, but this year has been amazing because it has eliminated the accessibility barriers for people with disabilities. if it was hard for me or somebody else in a wheelchair or somebody else with difficulty walking, they can work from home and in fact everybody is working from home. now is the time where these companies are seeing the importance of innovation and i think the disability community is going to read the benefits and i am honored -- reap the benefits and i am honored to have been there as a resource is a case study. i cannot thank our sponsors enough. there are so many. if you go to the website, you can see our list of sponsors and
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we cannot thank you enough for your support. host: we will get to some of the winning films. the first of which is in the category.eness" "how much am i worth?" is the winner for best awareness. guest: the awareness campaign has numerous factors involved, including how many lights, -- likes, views, and shares the film got. that is ultimately awareness through press, through campaigns. that film had over 100,000 unique views on youtube, facebook, and instagram. this is a shortened period of time where these participants are trying to get as many likes and shares for their film, but it becomes a snowball effect
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because let's say you have a smaller network in iowa for instance and that's not a good example because we have a from iowa,icipants and it gets a lot of support each year, but ultimately, when one film has a great awareness campaign, it alternately helps to get more views for all the films. when you watch one film, you say, wait a minute, what is that? youtube plays the next video on the playlist. work leads to work and use lead -- views lead to views. handler withchel "how much am i worth?" [video clip] >> ok. that's fine, i understand. i do not need help with anything else. thank you. i am rachel. i lost my leg in a car accident
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eight years ago. i had surgery and got a bill in the mail. right after i lost my job. they were for my anesthesiologist. i did not realize that i had to choose either staying awake for painful surgery or to pay my rent next month. it made me feel like i did something wrong when all i did was have a life-changing surgery that allows me to walk again. $1, a bill for >> my name is julie. i am a mom, actress, and i was born with a limb difference. i was born missing the lower half of my right arm.
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>> my name is denise. i have been an amputee for a little over nine years. -- 10 years. i lived in the united states for the first 32 years of my life. >> my name is andrea. i am a registered nurse in new york. i am one of the first doing activities to make up. i will have shoulder pain and back pain. >> after i broke my leg, we tried different things. best was thehe amputation of my leg. cost $10,000.
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thankfully, i have great friends that will crowd source. what do we do? riddance, say good the process of me getting my prosthetic was a very lengthy process. there were ridiculous questions about why i would need it and why this is important. you don't need another arm. i think he was appalled at the condition. of carbon fiber flying out. how have you been walking on this? why have you not had it fixed?
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i'm american. american amputee,. >> in 2010, i got deathly ill and diagnosed with a bone infection. i was septic so i was in my bloodstream. these doctors were coming to me. i was doing it to myself, making myself sicker. i am not following their regimen, so that is the reason for me being sick. >> when you have certain insurance, people are not treated equally or their pain is not taking that seriously. >> he is making this list and i am starting to panic a little. i was getting nervous because i was like, what is this going to cost me? he said the region commuted thinks they should be provided for you.
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that's that. i thought, what a concept. i truly broke down in tears. i do not realize how stressful it has been since the beginning. >> it is insane to me that we are so low on the totem pole for care, and when we do need to come together we are silent. , we are silent because they are like, you are -- where is that money going? let me know. when i look at the stock markets, i see that your company is still high so you are still bringing in money, which means i should be able to get what i need but i don't. ♪
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host: rachel handler, her film the top winner at easterseals disability film challenge best awareness campaign. this is a virtual world, of course. did you meet rachel and can you tell us anything about her and what she brought to this process? guest: i've known her for quite a while through the film challenge.
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she's one of the original filmmakers of the challenge. she made a film the first year. she's an actress who was hurt pretty close to the time we started the challenge. she found out and it helped give her a platform and back on her goals of becoming an actress. making her own work, directing, that has led to another whole career for her. she is a remarkable writer who is always coming up with amazing scripts. two years ago, she entered the film challenge with a film called "committed." it was a great film. it was nominated for best film. she took that film and submitted it to the at&t film awards and
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won it along with a $5000 grant. some of these films, they have a life of their own. they have screened at festivals around the world. rachel handler, i know the skies the limit for her. she will continue to work as an actress and a writer and a director. host: the next film is in the best editor category. the winner was scott and we are going to watch this. they are about five minutes in length. we will come back and talk with nic novicki. [video clip] ♪ >> my name is scott plum.
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i am a filmmaker and a friend. at the age of 23, i was diagnosed as autism. i tried to focus less on it being a disability and as a strength. had i been born 20 is later, it would've been much easier to get a diagnosis. this has developed my family and friends. autism has made it so that i view the world differently than others. i use filmmaking during the pandemic. 3, 2, 1. ♪
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>> i like to think of my special interest as a passion and a career. it showcases my strengths. it has turned into a coping mechanism. autistic people have the ability to focus on things for a long period of time, which has benefited me when i edit films for hours on end. my name is scott plum. i am a filmmaker. ♪
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host: what is it that stood out to the judges? guest: he really made editing a part of the style of the film. he saw the beautiful transitions, the ways he was able to use the marble. the way he was able to make an
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emotional attachment to his autism. the fact that he talks about editing, every thing about it i think was a truly beautiful and edited film. if you are a film challenge participant and you are thinking, i am going after you because i did not win, it was not me, it was the judges. he is truly an amazing editor. i'm honored he made this film for the challenge and that his going to get a mentor meeting at senior executives at hbo as a part of his award. i hope that leads to more opportunities for him. something else i would like to point out, he talks about in the film about how it helps them hyperfocus. a lot of times, we think if you
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have a disability, it is going to be hard to do this job, because a lot of times people in the entertainment industry and really the fortune 500 companies, they do not have the exposure of people with disabilities that i feel like we need. now, when you're able to see, wait a minute, he can focus hours and hours, that is the perfect person you need is an editor or creating videos. i love that that was included in the film. host: thought that comes to mind is how valuable they would be in schools around the country. so many schools have integration issues with people with disabilities and their learning programs and how it would help those children understand each other better. do you have specific outreach to schools?
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guest: it's funny you said that. we are working right now on screening these films at schools and all sorts of programs related to that. i've done numerous screenings because ultimately each of these films are owned by the participants. we have had oscar and emmy winners take part, but also families. they do this because it's a family exercise. it is something they are passionate about. one family, their son has down syndrome, and i have seen their son grow up through the film challenge. they made a film every year. schooltalked at their and shown the films. they are based in los angeles. the pride that liam has in his
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films that he makes and the pride that the school has in liam, it is really impactful. we are excited about making this something schools can harness. all of these films are online, these are all available to view. we want this to change how the world views disability. what better way than through children? host: we have 15 minutes. before we show the grand prize winner, a little more about yourself. you said you had a business degree. how did you get into acting? guest: i think it took a very hard left. ultimately, i was an athlete as a kid. i wanted to be a new york giant. but i'm 3'10".
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i learned pretty early i better find something else. i had an english teacher who said nic, you're so good at these impressions, why not acting? i did a school play and continued in community theater. i double majored in business and entrepreneurship. even though i liked acting it, i wanted to create my own business and be in the business world. i went to school in philadelphia and early on in my school, i started doing stand-up comedy. i learned i was pretty good at it. i started getting paid. i was doing speeches as a kid, to raise money for little people of america. .
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andi would always start the speech with a joke about standing with the podium, hey, who can see me? those speeches continued to snowball. i was on cspan in 2001, a speaker at the 11th anniversary of the american disabilities act. i introduced the secretary of labor. ultimately, i learned to break the ice with a joke. stand-up comedy came natural to me. i stayed in school and graduated, but afterwards, i decided that instead of going into the finance world or corporate america, to follow my dream to be an actor. it was the right decision. i wouldn't recommend it to everybody because you definitely have thick skin. you have to really be patient, believe in yourself, and be an
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entrepreneur, especially if you do not look like a typical movie star, which nobody really does. you have to learn to create your own content. that is been the genesis behind the film challenge in my career. do is much as you can in your own. do not wait for someone to create your dream. create it yourself. host: it sounds like this project must take up an amazing amount of your time. does your professional work suffer because of the amount of time that you're spending with this passion around the film challenge? guest: i don't think the word suffer would be the right word --[laughter] i have a passion, i go to bed
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thinking about it, i wake up thinking about it. i love it. i see the impact that easterseals disability film challenge is making on the community. i am a working actor, comedian, and producer. i am just very good at multitasking. i am sending emails while i am getting ready to go up on stage or late at night. as i said it work leads to work. , i was just a guest star on the good doctor and that opportunity was created for me by a wheelchair user, a writer in the writer's room. we work with all of these amazing studios and networks. he wrote this role for me, a role that typically would not be written for a little person because he got to know me through the work that we are doing together. i play a salesman with two
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girlfriends. i am happily married, that is not my real life. i continue to be an artist and i just have never felt such a passion for something in my life. as i feel for what we are doing. host: so incredible time management. let's get this very important film in before we run out of time. this is the best film in the easterseals disability film challenge for 2020. the title is "fish don't care when it rains." let's watch. [video clip] >> ♪ i'm strong enough let it pour on me though the water weighs me down keep it coming, i won't drown i'm protected from the lightning
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♪ >> you will find i am the only one in the whole world with that name. that is a lot of pressure because if i mess up, it is all on me. i am an artist. i love to create. i am disabled. i have autism. this is the story of how those things combine to make one me. as i have gotten older, i found that i love to garden. it is remarkable to see a seed grow into a plant. pineapples. that is a sensitive topic around here. two weeks ago, i had a fruit on top of my pineapple plant. i let it sit, even though i knew he was up there watching. that raccoon that terrorized my trashcan, he stole my pineapple. devouring the whole thing. why me? the nerve, i thought.
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but then i realized something. he left me the stump, with the seed i needed to grow another pineapple. i was down but i was not out. i once was a seed. i was covered in lasers of problems. there was obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, social difficulties and loneliness. i wanted so badly to break through and soak in the sun. but it was not yet my time. so i waited. and just like the seed, when the right elements came into play, i had my breakthrough. i was at a facility since i was 15 to help manage my self-injurious behaviors and impulsivity. some places were all right. most warrant. warrant -- were not. i got worse instead of better until life had just about devoured me. then i moved to a new facility in florida. i was replanted in a place where
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i was allowed to grow. i surrounded myself in music and taught myself new skills. like how to create a video diagram -- a vlog, like a video diary. if there is one thing i know is true we all learn in unique , ways. watching myself on camera made me painfully aware that i wanted to fix my face. i only had one expression. no wonder why people always thought i was mad. so i worked on different faces. now i am a comedian. then i wanted to make friends because i have been lonely most of my life. so i joined a team at my church and we created together, saying together, soon we were hanging out and before i knew it, i was actually socializing. over time, my forms of expression have continued to diversify. my deepest passion is music. it taught me to channel my feelings into a form that connects with people. before, when i used to get frustrated or upset, i usually
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ended up hurting myself. with music, i could take those abstract feelings and turn them into a relatable tune that everyone could get behind. what does my autism mean to me? i have always been autistic, so i do not know anything else. just like fish. they are already in the water. they do not care if it rains. they are already wet. i do not mind being autistic. it is the vehicle that defines my unique voice. without my disability, i would not be who i am today. i am an artist and pineapple grower. let it rain on me. i am just out here swimming. ♪ >> ♪ they are already wet it's just another day for them in paradise paradise is what they've always known
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i can't change where i've been it's just another day for me in paradise it's paradise why oh why ♪ host: what has life been like for jennifer since winning this challenge? guest: she is just such an amazing artist. she has a youtube channel. she got a lot of views for her film. over 25,000 views just on one of the platforms. she was so excited. when we did our award ceremony, she was inside the zoom with all the other finalists and when she found out she won, there was such a pause. you can see the joy and shock in her.
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it was a touching moment. people behind the scenes told me that they were all crying in the control room because she was just so touched when she won. it was an amazing platform for her to showcase her talent. she is in florida and through the film challenge, she is now meeting with executives from universal pictures and she has had all kinds of amazing exposure for herself and her career. she was in variety, cnn covered her. she is going to continue to do amazing in her career. i really think that she definitely got a little bit more exposure than she had the week before. i think it was well-deserved for somebody who made such an amazing film. it must have been really hard for the judges because we had 87 amazing films that were created. this film had something that i
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think at least for me, it really touched on some personal feelings and she was so vulnerable and funny. the camera loves her. i see her in a big tv show, big movie, creating something. i definitely see this not being the end of her career, but i think a big launching pad to see an amazing next project from her. host: as we close out here, a couple things. major new york times story in which you are one of people featured. talking about all hollywood and inclusion of people with disabilities and the academy awards announced their rules about the awards program. among those for inclusion are people with disabilities. in closing, you spent the last seven years of your life doing
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this film challenge. most of your acting career as an activist for inclusion for people with this abilities. are we at a point of inflection or is there still a lot of work ahead? guest: i really feel like the tide is turning right now. i feel honored that through the easterseals disability film challenge, we are part of that change because these are filmmakers and participants that are not just sitting and waiting, but they are actually taking action and creating these films. the entertainment industry has embraced this in weight. in a huge way. i was so honored to be spotlighted in the new york times. in terms of the oscars and them including disability and as part of the inclusion efforts, that was a huge win. i have to say, it was the talent of people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera. the entertainment industry knows
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that we are there and we are going to continue to work and give out these opportunities. i feel optimistic about the future. >> thank you so much for the hour. congratulations to all of this year's contestants. thanks for letting us introduce our audience to the easterseals disability film challenge. guest: thank you for having me. it was such an honor. ♪ >> all "q&a" episodes are available on our website at >> here's a look at congress this week.
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the house and senate are far apart on another really package, the senate returns today. their foes to -- first votes are on tuesday. wednesday, the covid bill. take up the supreme court nomination of amy coney barrett. the house is out of session. members could be called back for a vote with 24 hours notice. negotiations continue between nancy pelosi and the administration. sticking points remain. watch coverage of the house on c-span and the senate on c-span 2. morning, senate republicans and the administration's review of the fbi russia probe. the democratic super pac
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discusses the 2020 campaign. we take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal is next. host: good morning. it's the washington journal. president trump is in arizona and joe biden is in ohio. senator harris returns to the campaign trail in floor. early voting begins in that state. vice president pence is in pennsylvania. he will also go to maine. devoted to youis telling us about your top issues heading into election day. what is it? perhaps it's the pandemic.


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