RespectAbility Reveals Cohort Participants Of New Physical Production Intensive

RespectAbility, a disability-led nonprofit known for creating systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, has announced a new cohort of five participants for the organization’s Physical Production Intensive.

Since 2019, RespectAbility has been running a variety of Entertainment Labs and additional pipeline programming for disabled entertainment professionals. New this year, RespectAbility is offering six new in-person intensive sessions geared toward Fellows who are looking for more focused programming and career opportunities in specific creative areas.

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RespectAbility is running an intensive session for disabled crew members working in below-the-line positions and those wanting to gain a larger understanding of how their role intersects with physical production. The intensive is in partnership with Amazon MGM Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Panavision.

The cohort includes five individuals – four from Los Angeles and one from Denver. Participants include people with a variety of disabilities ranging in age from the 20s through the 60s. The Cohort includes:

Jeff Beachnau
Nandi Bowe
Robert Burns
Ben Levin
Maggie Whittum

While Beachnau and Levin are new to RespectAbility programming, Burns and Whittum are alumni of the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab. In addition, Bowe is participating in the 2024 Entertainment Lab concurrently with this Intensive.

“Joining the RespectAbility cohort in 2023 has catapulted my career trajectory in many ways,” Burns said. “Through a connection at the organization, I was offered a job as a director’s assistant for a feature documentary and have gained a multitude of industry experience that, beforehand, didn’t seem accessible. Additionally, RespectAbility introduced me to a community of people with shared passions and ambitions to achieve their goals in the entertainment industry, who came together as a unit, a family. Having been accepted into the 2024 Physical Production intensive, I hope to continue learning and advancing in my chosen industry, and to build on this family.”

“I learned so much about the greater industry during the RespectAbility Entertainment Lab,” Whittum added. “I’m very excited for the physical production intensive to learn more about the nuts and bolts of producing on set.”

A team of industry advisors have provided input on the curriculum and reviewed each 2024 applicant, including: Deirdre Morales (Supervising Producer at the Loop Lab), Delbert Whetter (Chief Operating Officer & Head of Business Affairs, Exodus Film Group and RespectAbility Board Vice Chair), and Alexander Yellen (Director and Director of Photography).

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