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SFFILM Festival

Crossings: Navigating Visibility


Live Talk

Tue, Apr 26 at 4 pm

Live Talk


Accessibility in the American film industry is limited, inconsistent, and frequently nonexistent. Too often, our colleagues are overlooked or marginalized to the point of invisibility. Beyond identifying growth areas and increasing representation on screen, how can we create a fully accessible film industry? Join us for this special discussion where we explore radically needed shifts to industry standards, economic paradigms, and creative inclusivity.

Moderator Kristen Lopez

Kristen Lopez is the TV Editor at IndieWire and has been a pop culture essayist for 15 years. Her work has appeared on Variety, Forbes, Roger Ebert, and MTV. Much of her writing focuses on disability representation in the media. She graduated from Sacramento State with her Masters in English. In her free time she enjoys reading, podcasting, and watching TCM.

Panelist Emily Smith Beitiks

Emily Beitiks received a PhD in American Studies with a focus in Disability Studies at the University of Minnesota. She has taught social justice at the University of Minnesota, UC Santa Cruz, and UC Davis, and currently serves as adjunct faculty at Menlo College. As Associate Director of the Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, she continues her work as a scholar and advocate of disability to showcase how disabled people bring unique value that can benefit us all. She was the project director for “Patient No More,” a multimedia, interactive exhibit which modeled new standards for exhibit access, and she also serves as co-director for Superfest Disability Film Festival, the longest running disability film festival in the world.

Panelist Reid Davenport

Oakland filmmaker Reid Davenport’s work focuses on the perspective of people with disabilities. He made five short documentaries, before making his feature debut, I Didn’t See You There (2022), the winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. documentary directing award. He is a 2017 TED Fellow and DOC NYC named him one of their 2020 “40 Filmmakers Under 40”. He is a co-founder of Through My Lens, an organization that teaches students with and without disabilities how to make films. Among the honors for his short films are the Best Short Doc prize from the Awareness Film Festival for Wheelchair Diaries: One Step Up (2013) and a Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Artistic Vision Award for A Cerebral Game (2015).

Panelist Lawrence Carter-Long

Lawrence Carter-Long, chair of SF Film’s Disability Advisory Committee, is a respected authority on the history and evolution of disability in media. He has created, curated, critiqued, or consulted on projects for the National Endowment for the Arts, Turner Classic Movies, Sundance, SAG-AFTRA, AFI, NPR, ITVS, the BBC, and more. His work has been featured on PBS and in publications that include Film Quarterly, The Atlantic, and USA Today. He has lectured on disability representation at the Library of Congress, the Whitney Museum of Modern Art, and the United Nations. He was featured in the documentary Code of Freaks (2020) and acted in Best Summer Ever (2021). Previously the communications lead for the National Council on Disability during the Obama administration, Carter-Long is currently the Director of Communications for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund based in Berkeley, California.

Panelist Dawn Valadez

Dawn Valadez is a queer, Xicana, feminista, filmmaker, social worker, artist, youth advocate, resource wrangler, and impact strategist. Dawn produced/co-directed The Pushouts (2018) and directed/produced Going on 13 (2008). She’s been awarded numerous honors, including the Al Bendich Berkeley Film Foundation Award (2017), and the Imagen’s Best Documentary Award (2018). Dawn was a recipient of the 2020 See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and the Media/ Bentonville Film Foundation. Dawn is a consulting producer on a number of projects in development, production, post-production, and impact/distribution stages. Dawn is the Director of Youth and Artistic Development at BAVC Media.

Panelist Asha Phelps

Asha Phelps works at IFC Center as the Administrative & Operations Manager, specializing in theater and event operations, alternative content programming, accounting, and databasing. She additionally works for DOC NYC as the Systems Director, which includes overseeing the festival’s ticketing and passholder programs, as well as virtual platform and venue box office operations. She was a 2016 participant in the inaugural Industry Academy International U.S., hosted by Film of Lincoln Center and the Locarno International Film Festival. She has a BA in Cinema Studies from NYU. A Texas native, she currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.