2012 Media Access Awards Celebrate Disability Awareness and Inclusion in Media and Entertainment

2012 Media Access Awards Celebrate Disability Awareness and Inclusion in Media and Entertainment

Late Night Funny Man Jimmy Kimmel to Host Awards Reception
with Jane Lynch, Helen Hunt, and many more on hand

Los Angeles, CA (September 11, 2012) – The 2012 Media Access Awards will be held on October 10, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with a breakfast and an awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. This annual event honors individuals in the entertainment and broadcast industries for their efforts in promoting awareness of the disability experience, accessibility for people with disabilities, and the accurate depiction of characters with disabilities. Emceed by Emmy-winner Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel Live), coming off the heels of hosting this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards, honorees of the 2012 Media Access Awards will include television writer-producer tour-de-force Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy, and Lauren Potter, star of FOX’s hit comedy, Glee.  Among the presenters will be Emmy winner Jane Lynch (Glee), Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets, Mad About You), Oscar nominee John Hawkes (The Sessions, Winter’s Bone), RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad), the cast of Sundance Channel‘s Push Girls, and more.

The goal of representing and shedding light on various disabilities while raising public perception through the media takes center stage for this celebration.  A vibrant and positive reception, the Media Access Awards continues to bring out some of television and film’s brightest and most supportive stars as recipients and presenters year after year, and 2012 is set to be the biggest yet.  The ceremony is presented by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Starz Entertainment, 

“The Media Access Awards seek to increase the inclusion of disability in what we see and hear, and to raise public awareness, understanding and acceptance,” said Media Access Awards Chair and Chair of the Producers Guild of America Diversity Committee Deborah Calla.  Concurs Media Access Awards Co-Chair and WGAW Writers with Disabilities Committee Chair Allen Rucker, who added, “We are truly grateful that Hollywood’s top organizations and inspirational individuals come together at the MAA’s time and time again to amplify our cause to the public and commemorate their revered efforts.”

The 2012 Media Access Awards are co-sponsored by SAG-AFTRA, the Casting Society of America (CSA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA), the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), Friends of California with Disabilities, the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the R.J. Mitte Diversity Award, NBCU, USC, Kevin Bright and William Morris Endeavor.

The following awards will be presented at the reception:

*SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award (Phil Perry, Jazz & R&B Star)
*SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award (Lauren Potter, Glee)
*Casting Society of America Award (Ronnie Yeskel, The Sessions, Curb Your Enthusiasm)
*Writers Guild of America, West Evan Somers Memorial Award (Ben Lewin, The Sessions, Georgia)
*Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award (Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal)
*Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship (Zack Weinstein, Glee, Criminal Minds, NCIS)
*RJ Mitte Diversity Award (To be announced at the 2012 Media Access Awards)

Past Media Access Awards recipients include: Michael J. Fox, José Feliciano, Robert David Hall, Marlee Matlin, Anthony Edwards, Nancy Davis, Norman Lear, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, Ray Charles, Michael Landon, Diane Schuur, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Leeza Gibbons, Verne Troyer, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, Robert Guillaume, Montel Williams, Aaron Spelling, Geri Jewell, Vince Gilligan, Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas, Jason Katims, Paul Stupin, Teal Sherer, Abbey Umali, Jane Pauley, the Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, and many more. 

The Media Access Awards were 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, to recognize and encourage the accurate portrayal of people with disabilities.

An estimated 56 million Americans live with disabilities.  In recognition of this reality, the entertainment unions and guilds recognize the social impact of films, television and broadcasting, and strive for an open dialogue regarding portrayals of disability and increased employment opportunities in front of and behind the scenes.  To that end, the Media Access Awards celebrates producers, actors, writers, broadcasters, and casting directors who have made positive contributions to the more accurate and inclusive portrayals of persons with disabilities in film, television, and all other media.  They are truly pioneers in affecting change.

About the Partners:

California Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities
The Governor’s Committee is responsible for providing leadership in the effort to increase the numbers of people with disabilities in the California workforce. The volunteer membership of the Governor’s Committee is comprised of decision-makers and leaders from the private and public sectors whose expertise is essential in supporting and building systems that promote universal access, remove barriers to work, and enable people with disabilities to gain independence and economic self-sufficiency.

SAG-AFTRA
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world. With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.

Producers Guild of America
The Producers Guild of America is the non-profit trade group that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The Producers Guild has more than 5,000 members who work together to protect and improve their careers, the industry and community by providing members with employment opportunities, seeking to expand health benefits,  promoting fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, as well as other education and advocacy efforts such as encouraging sustainable production practices. Visit www.producersguild.org, www.pgagreen.org, www.pgadiversity.org for more information.

Writers Guild of America, West
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union representing writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and Internet programming, including news and documentaries. Founded in 1933, the Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members. It is involved in a wide range of programs that advance the interests of writers, and is active in public policy and legislative matters on the local, national, and international levels. For more information on the WGAW, please visit: www.wga.org.

Casting Society of America
The Casting Society of America is the premier organization of theatrical Casting Directors in film, television, and theatre. Although it is not a union, its members are a united professional society that consistently set the level of professionalism in casting on which the entertainment industry has come to rely. It's more than 450 members are represented not only in the United States, but also in Canada, England, Australia and Italy.

Friends of Californians with Disabilities
Friends of Californians with Disabilities, Inc. a 501(c)(3), is a leader in developing statewide and national partnerships to increase employment and independent living opportunities for people with disabilities. They played a major leadership role in the partnership that created such innovative nationally acclaimed projects as the California Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities (YLF), the Media Access Office and Awards and the “Windmills” Disability Awareness Diversity Training Program.

Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. For more information please visit our website at ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-225-0292. 

Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie and original programming entertainment service provider operating in the United States. The company offers 17 premium channels including the flagship STARZ® and ENCORE® brands with approximately 19 million and 32.9 million subscribers respectively.  Starz Entertainment airs in total more than 1,000 movies and original series every month across its pay TV channels. Starz Entertainment is recognized as a pay TV leader in providing HD, On Demand, HD On Demand and online advanced services for its STARZ, ENCORE and MOVIEPLEX brands.  Starz Entertainment (www.starz.com) is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation and is attributed to the Liberty Starz tracking stock group.

Keck Medical Center of USC
The Keck Medical Center of USC is one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area. Keck Medical Center of USC was launched in 2011 after a transformative $150 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation.   It is comprised of Keck Hospital of USC (formerly USC University Hospital) and USC Norris Cancer Hospital, the private hospitals of the University of Southern California. The two world-class, USC-owned hospitals are staffed by more than 500 physicians who are faculty at the renowned Keck School of Medicine of USC. Keck Medical Center of USC is a center for multi-faceted care, with a concentration of specialists across multiple areas of expertise.

NBC Universal
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group.