EXCLUSIVE: The nonprofit Inevitable Foundation, which aims to mentor and support the next generation of screenwriters with disabilities, has launched a new initiative to help bridge the diversity gap in film and television.
The Pipeline program comprises a broad coalition of leading individuals and industry organizations who strive to identify promising disabled screenwriters and expedite them for consideration by showrunners, creative executives and the scholarship program. writing studies from the foundation.
Inevitable, which is supported by WarnerMedia / AT&T Foundation and a number of other foundations, has lined up more than 25 creative and development executives from studios, streamers and networks and over a dozen showrunners who will work with Screenwriting Fellows of the foundation and other finalists to mentor them and prepare them to sell their work.
Founding members of the coalition include the Sundance Institute, The Black List, Easterseals, Deaf Talent Collective, Words Uncaged, Pillars Fund, and the Writers Guild Foundation, including the WGA Veterans Writing Project and Support Program Access to Writers, with more Pipeline program partners to be announced shortly.
Disabled screenwriters who have followed the programs of the Inevitable Foundation’s pipeline partners are encouraged to contact their contact within their respective organization, who will then direct them to the Screenwriting Fellowship with a priority application.
“Partnering with organizations that are at the forefront of developing promising writing talent allows the industry to quickly discover other incredible screenwriters with disabilities,” said Richie Siegel, co-founder of The Inevitable Foundation. “The Pipeline program allows our partner organizations to pass the baton so that we can continue to advance the careers of the talent they have already invested in and bring their work to the screen, thereby enhancing the impact of their efforts. “
Currently, people with disabilities make up 20% of the general population, but only make up 2% of on-screen characters, and less than 1% of those who write in the industry, according to the foundation.
“For too long, the stories we have seen on screen have failed to reflect the diversity of the human experience, especially for people with disabilities who are often symbolized, infantilized or naughty,” said Katie Buckland, Director Executive of the Writers Guild Foundation. . “As a pipeline partner with the Inevitable Foundation, we strive to close the representation gap for writers with disabilities in the writers room and beyond by supporting access to financial and creative freedom to share authentic stories. via their scriptwriting grant. “
The foundation’s Screenwriting Fellowship program invests $ 25,000 in talented professional screenwriters who happen to be disabled, and provides them with mentorship and workshops to help them build the relationships and skills they need to thrive in the industry. . This year, the foundation will appoint four screenwriting fellows and provide professional development to more than a dozen additional screenwriters with disabilities, with the intention of further expanding the program in 2022.
“The mission of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge is to create opportunities for people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera and, in turn, to change the way the world views disability,” said Nic Noviki, director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. . “Now, film challenge participants have a direct line to the Inevitable Foundation and their programs, which gives them access to additional resources and new opportunities. We are delighted with this collaboration.
Founded by Siegel and Marisa Torelli-Pedevska, both with personal connections to physical and developmental disabilities, the Inevitable Foundation provides funding and mentorship to writers with disabilities to prepare them to develop their own projects and move up in rank.
“The Pipeline program and the partnerships within the group reinforce our long-term commitment to empower a new generation of writers with disabilities who are poised to succeed in the industry,” said Torelli-Pedevska. “Our Fellows are writers you can buy projects and staff from today, not a decade from now. These writers will help you tell more authentic and compelling stories as a result and diversify your writers’ rooms at the same time.