The Black List, Media Access Awards, Easterseals Disability Services, WGA Writers with Disabilities Committee Unveil 2020 Disability List

EXCLUSIVE: The selections for the 2020 Disability List were unveiled Thursday night at the Media Access Awards.

The Black List teamed with Easterseals Disability Services, the Writers Guild of America Writers with Disabilities Committee and Media Access Awards for the annual curated list of the most promising unproduced scripts featuring at least one lead character with a disability. The list opened submissions in August and from those, eight scripts from seven writers and one writing team were selected for the second annual edition of the Disability List.

“Our goal is to highlight authentic storytelling by, and about, people with disabilities,” said Mark Whitley, CEO of Easterseals Southern California. “Through realistic and entertaining stories that don’t rely on stereotypes of what it means to have a disability we can change dated perceptions and create a more inclusive society. Hollywood has an important role to play in making that happen. We thank The Black List for our ongoing partnership in bringing these great stories to the forefront.”

“Having a disability is not a death sentence. As these winning scripts show, people with disabilities have lives as funny, complex, and utterly human as anyone else. In a year with so much discord, we believe the list and these writers bring a positive note to the world,” said Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker – Co-CEOs Media Access Awards.

Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO of The Black List, added, “It’s been an absolute joy to work with the Media Access Awards, Easterseals, and the WGA Writers With Disabilities Committee to create the Disability List over the last two years, but that joy will pale in comparison to what we’ll all experience when we can see these films and series on screen, cast with and made by members of the community as well.”

Requirements for placement on The Disability List include:

  • Unproduced scripts featuring at least one lead character with a disability are eligible for this collaboration
  • Any kind of story is eligible and will be considered
  • Feature film scripts, half-hour scripts and one-hour episodic scripts will be considered for this partnership
  • All levels of experience considered for submitting writers

Leonard highlighted this year’s selected writers during tonight’s ceremony. Read the scripts selected for the Disability List and their loglines below.

CENTS by Sam Davis
Frankie––a high school senior with an intellectual disability––sets a penny on the railroad tracks the morning of a freak train derailment. Assuming responsibility, he goes into hiding amidst a citywide evacuation and must survive on his own––a “fugitive” in a ghost town, with the police who “hunt” him, and a pile of combustible train cars looming.

GOOD VIBES ONLY by Lily Gwyer-Miller and Janna Taylor
Afraid to tell her bubbly best friend about her recent cancer diagnosis, a cranky TV director turns to a cancer support group. There she meets a diverse group of women who help each other through real-life problems that can’t be solved with good vibes.

LOOKING UP by Anna Thorup
A wheelchair-using twenty-something messes around and messes up in New York City.

NO ONE IS LOOKING by Michael J. Dougherty
Sam, a physically-challenged highschooler, kills a bully and thinks he got away with it because no one would believe a kid in a wheelchair would be capable of that, but he must find the bully’s missing severed head before anyone finds out about the murder.

THE PAIN FREE DAY by Sarah Granger
After struggling for years housebound with severe pelvic pain, a dejected mother takes a risk and pulls her teenage daughter out of school for one day in an attempt to mend their strained relationship.

PHANTOM by Jennifer Noonan
A double amputee combat veteran returns from Afghanistan and faces a new battle she must wage to regain herself.

POSSUM by Bob Ingraham
When a band of thieves targets a charity for the disabled, the father of one of the disabled residents must find a way to thwart their plans.

THE SMELL OF GOLD by Jared Turner
After her husband is murdered in cold blood, a tenacious, young Scotswoman, with the help of an English tracker and his Māori son, sets out across the wild New Zealand landscape in pursuit of the accused, a reclusive Chinese gold-miner. All the while, they must fight to stay ahead of a vicious gang who are desperate to claim the bounty.

 

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