AMI forms Disability Screen Office

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Both the Canada Media Fund and Telefilm Canada have provided initial funding to support startup costs, new programs and the creation of a best practices guideline for disability engagement.

A ccessible Media Inc. (AMI) has launched the Disability Screen Office (DSO) with financial support from the Canada Media Fund (CMF) and Telefilm Canada.

The new screen office aims to increase “accurate and meaningful disability representation” in Canadian media, both on and off screen; reveal and remove accessibility barriers within the industry; and amplify the voices of Canadians with disabilities both domestically and internationally.

CMF will fund the creation of a Best Practices Guide for Disability Engagement in the Canadian Film and Television Industry, which is currently in the development phase, and will serve as “the foundation of the DSO.” Telefilm has contributed startup funding to open an office within the next year and recruit a board of directors.

Meanwhile, both funders will help financially support the creation of programs to make writers’ rooms in Canada more accessible to screenwriters with disabilities, which the DSO says will be announced this summer.

The DSO was formed following a series of roundtable discussions with members of the disability community within the screen industry, including writers, directors, producers and performers, to “identify barriers and brainstorm solutions” to aid 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 statement. “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.”

Tamara Dawit, VP, Inclusion and Growth at CMF, added that supporting the formation of the DSO is part of the funder’s growth and inclusion strategy “to support and amplify the creative voices of Canadians with disabilities, both here in Canada and beyond our borders.”

“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 of Telefilm. “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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