The 2013 Media Access Awards will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California on Thursday, October 17, from 9:00 am. to 11:00 am. with its annual breakfast and an awards ceremony. The event, now in its fourth year, honors members of 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-nominated comedic icon Fred Willard (Modern Family, This Is Spinal Tap), honorees of the 2013 Media Access Awards will include RJ Mitte, star of the Emmy-winning series Breaking Bad, Academy Award-winning producer Bruce Cohen for American Beauty, House creator and Emmy-winner David Shore, casting director Deedee Bradley of the hit ABC Family series Switched at Birth, up-and-coming actress and writer Santina Muha, and documentary producer Jenni Gold of the upcoming film Cinemability. The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to legendary producer Norman Lear, known for changing the way viewers watched television through diverse characters and storytelling on such classic series as All in the Family, The Facts of Life, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and the Oscar-nominated feature film Divorce American Style. The Visionary Award will be given to George R.R. Martin, the Hugo Award-winning author of A Song of Ice and Fire, adapted for HBO as the Emmy-winning Game of Thrones television series. Among the presenters will be Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God), screenwriter and film producer Ben Lewin (The Sessions), Oscar-nominated producer and director Frank Marshall (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Color Purple, The Bourne Identity), and many 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 2013 is set to be the biggest yet. The ceremony is presented by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Starz Entertainment.
“The Media Access Awards’ goal is to widen the range of inclusion for the disabled community in media and to enhance the public’s awareness, acceptance, and understanding” said Media Access Awards Chair and Chair of the Producers Guild of America Diversity Committee Deborah Calla. Media Access Awards Co-Chair and WGAW Writers with Disabilities Committee Chair Allen Rucker added,“Year after year, we are honored and thankful to the dedicated and inspirational Hollywood leaders that continue to come together for the MAA’s to celebrate working toward a raising public perception through media.”
The 2013 Media Access Awards are co-sponsored by The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Starz, Friends of Californians with Disabilities, The Casting Society of America, The Producers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, The Writers Guild of America West, Kevin Bright, The Keck Medical Center of USC, NBCUniversal, and CBS.
The following awards will be presented at the reception:
• Media Access Awards’ LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (Norman Lear, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, The Facts of Life)
• Media Access Awards’ VISIONARY AWARD (George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Ice & Fire, the basis for Game of Thrones)
• SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award (Jenni Gold, Producer of the Documentary Cinemability)
• SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award (RJ Mitte, Breaking Bad)
• Casting Society of America Award (Deedee Bradley, Switched at Birth, Veronica Mars)
• Writers Guild of America, West Evan Somers Memorial Award (David Shore, House)
• Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award (Bruce Cohen, Milk, Silver Linings Playbook, Academy Award-winner for American Beauty)
• Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship (Santina Muha).
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, Jason Katims, Paul Stupin, Teal Sherer, Abbey Umali, Jane Pauley, Lauren Potter, Ben Lewin, Shonda Rhimes, 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.