The Media Access Awards 2017 hosted by actor Oliver Trevena and Haben Girma. Girma quipt, “public speaking is easy when you can’t see the audience”, she is the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law.
MAA was created in 1979 by the California Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities along with producer Fern Field and her late husband, Norman Brooks. The awards are given annually, and honor individuals in the entertainment industry for their efforts in the accurate and inclusive portrayals of persons with disabilities in all media. Support comes from Friends of Californians with Disabilities.
Celebs in attendance included Norman Lear, Michael Keaton, Jacob Tremblay, Eileen Grubba and Jason George.
Individuals and organizations honored included; producer Fern Field with the Norman Lear-Geri Jewell Lifetime Achievement Award; *David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman, the Producers Guild of America Award; Telsey + Company, the Casting Society of America Award; and the Ruderman Family Foundation, SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award; Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, WGAW excellence in writing award; Robia Rashid, WGAW Evan Somers memorial award; *Nic Novicki, the SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell award; and *Mickey Rowe, the Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship.
Fern Field and Norman Lear pioneered disability inclusion on television. Geri Jewell of “Facts of Life”, was the first person with a disability on a sitcom, produced by Lear. Micheal Keaton joined Field and Lear recalling the short film about employment of people with disabilities in 1978, Oscar nominated “A Different Approach”, produced by Field—Keaton was still looking for his check.
*Hoberman and Lieberman produced “Stronger,” “Wonder” via Mandeville Films.
*Novicki created the Disability Film Challenge, (newly partnered with Easterseals of Southern CA) in which filmmakers complete a short film in 55 hours.
*Rowe is the first actor on the autism spectrum to star in Christopher Boone’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a play that centers on the topic.