For Immediate Release

2022 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Officially Launched at Sundance Film Festival

Participants can register at through Monday, April 4

LOS ANGELES, January 24, 2022

Media Contact:
Julia Rossen / Lindsey Brown, SLATE PR /

Clapboard and words 2022 Easterseals Disability FIlm Challenge April 5-10, Register Now through April 4 and website address

Nonprofit disability services provider and resource Easterseals Disability Services announced at the virtual Sundance Film Festival that it is now accepting registrations for the 2022 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.  Created in 2013 and launched in 2014, the challenge gives filmmakers – with and without disabilities – the opportunity to collaborate to tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms, inviting aspiring storytellers to creatively write, produce, and complete short films.  It is a week-long filmmaking contest, open to all, that provides a platform for new voices in the entertainment industry.

Registration is open now through Monday, April 4, and the Film Challenge will take place from Tuesday, April 5 through Sunday, April 10.  Finalists will be announced on Friday, April 29, with the Awards Ceremony set to take place on Thursday, May 5.

“We are looking forward to another amazing year of films for this year's Easterseals Disability Film Challenge!” said Nic Novicki, Founder of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. “We are honored and grateful for all the support we receive from our sponsors, supporters and all our talented film challenge participants.  Despite being in a pandemic we saw record breaking years of film submissions in 2020 and 2021 and the films are screening at festivals worldwide and leading to opportunities for our participants in front of and behind the camera. We are excited to continue all the positive momentum and to see what our film challenge participants create this year.”

Winners of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge receive invaluable access to entertainment, opening the door to an industry notoriously difficult to enter, as well as a variety of prizes to help them achieve their career goals:

  • $2,000 grants provided by NBCUniversal
  • Dell Technologies computers
  • One-year membership to IMDbPro, including access to the IMDbPro Discover tool, which empowers members to find other professionals to hire and collaborate with, based on a variety of key IMDb data, experience and expertise. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, IMDbPro is the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals.
  • The winning films will be highlighted in a video playlist on the homepage of IMDb, the world's most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities
  • Screenings at numerous Academy Award-Qualifying festivals, including the Heartland Film Festival, HollyShorts Film Festival, Bentonville Film Festival and NewFilmmakers LA
  • One year membership to Film Independent
  • One-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud – the platform for creating, collaborating, and inspiration consisting of apps, services and community to help you unleash your creativity
  • Mentorship meetings with entertainment industry executives and talent

The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge will be judged by a wide selection of influential voices within the entertainment industry, who will lend their expertise to select the best films this year.  They include: Allison Norlian (Journalist), Danny Woodburn (Actor & Comedian), Gil Robertson (President of the African American Film Critics Association), Jenni Gold (Director), Jennifer Wilson (Nominations Manager, Film Independent), Jim LeBrecht (Filmmaker), Kat Coiro (Director), Lindzi Scharf (Journalist), Lauren “Lolo” Spencer (Actress), Lawrence Carter Long (Director of Communications at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund), Mara Webster (Producer), Mark Povinelli (Actor & President, Little People of America), Nicole Castro, Nigel Smith (News Editor, Movies, PEOPLE), Richard Propes (Journalist), Stacey Wilson Hunt (Journalist), and Stephanie Thomas (Stylist & Author). Additional judges and special participants will be announced in the coming weeks.

Previous Easterseals Disability Film Challenge winners and participants have gone on to achieve great success within the industry, landing roles in major television shows and films including New Amsterdam, Superstore, The Good Doctor, Loudermilk, Marry Me, and Moxie, and earning accolades and grants from prestigious organizations all around the world!

 The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge is made possible through generous support from Adobe, Dell Technologies, Intel, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Prime Video, IMDbPro, Sony Pictures Entertainment, HFPA, and WarnerMedia.

 For more information, visit:

Easterseals Southern California has also created the “Easterseals in Entertainment” website and resource center.  The site highlights Easterseals’ ongoing initiatives, which aim to change the way the world defines and views disability, using the Entertainment industry as an incredibly powerful tool to do so.  The site also serves as a resource center, offering tools for finding actors and creators within the disability community, providing a Best Practices Guide for writers looking to bring authentic disability representation to their work and writers rooms, and much more!  Visit

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About the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge

As someone with a disability, actor, comedian and producer Nic Novicki launched the Disability Film Challenge in 2013 in response to the under-representation of talent with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera. Novicki created the challenge to give aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their work and provide them with meaningful exposure. In 2017, Novicki joined forces with Easterseals Southern California – the nation’s leading nonprofit supporting people and families with disabilities – to expand the event, now known as the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. Learn more at

About Easterseals Southern California

Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities. Easterseals Southern California provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 15,000 people each year—from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, daily and independent living services for adults, employment programs, veterans’ services and more. Our public education, policy and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans with disabilities today. Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families and communities to be full and equal participants in society.

Media Contacts

Julia Rossen / Lindsey Brown


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