The 2022 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Awards have announced the presenters for this year’s ceremony, including “Special” creator Ryan O’Connell and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The awards will be held May 5 at Sony Pictures Studios’ Cary Grant Theater in Los Angeles.
Other presenters include Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”), Max Borenstein (“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”), Blake Stadnik (“This is Us”) and “As We See It” cast members Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien and Albert Rutecki.
Launched in 2014 and created by Nic Novicki, the Film Challenge gives filmmakers the chance to write, produce and direct short films that tell unique stories featuring disability in many forms. Submissions can come from filmmakers with or without disabilities, and this year’s challenge saw a record submission of 95 films from around the world.
The finalists will be announced on April 29, with four competitors to advance in each of the following categories: film, presented by Warner Bros. Discovery; director, presented by NBCUniversal; publisher, presented by Adobe; actor, presented by IMDbPro; writer, presented by Netflix; and the Outreach Campaign Award, presented by Amazon Prime Video.
This year’s jury includes journalist Allison Norlian, actor Danny Woodburn, African American Film Critics Association President Gil Robertson, director Jenni Gold, Film Independent Nominations Officer Jennifer Wilson, filmmaker Jim LeBrecht, director Kat Coiro, journalist Lindzi Scharf, actress Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, director of communications at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund Lawrence Carter-Long, producer Mara Webster, president of Little People of America Mark Povinelli, Nicole Castro, Editor-in-Chief Nigel Smith, Journalist Richard Propes, Journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt and Author Stephanie Thomas, as well as IMDb CEO Col Needham and Jacqueline Lyanga, Head of Diversity, Equity and inclusion for IMDb.
The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge is made possible with support from Adobe, Dell Technologies, Intel, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Prime Video, IMDbPro, Sony Pictures Entertainment, HFPA, SAG-AFTRA, Microsoft Teams and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Winners of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge will receive $2,000 grants provided by NBCUniversal, Dell Technologies computers, a one-year subscription to IMDbPro and promotion of their film on IMDb’s homepage, a subscription to a year at Adobe Creative Cloud, screenings at various academies. Award-winning festivals, a one-year Film Independent membership, and mentorships with entertainment industry executives and talent.