A vibrant and positive event, 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.
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. The awards are given annually, and honor individuals in the entertainment industry for their efforts
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 as well as 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 all media. They are truly pioneers in affecting change.
This awards presentation and celebration has grown with the community’s awareness, and is currently co-sponsored by the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Friends of California with Disabilities, the Casting Society of America (CSA), the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the Producers Guild of America (PGA), SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), the R.J. Mitte Diversity Award, NBCU, USC, Kevin Bright, Starz and William Morris Endeavor.
The Casting Society of America Award is given to a casting director(s) who, that year, actively participated in the mission of Media Access -- the casting director(s) promoted awareness of the disability experience, accessibility for people with disabilities, and the accurate depiction of characters with disabilities.
A few recent Media Access Awards recipients include:
Susan Bluestein, CSA and Jason Kennedy, CSA (2014) (NCIS)
Deedee Bradley, CSA (2013) (Switched at Birth, Veronica Mars)
Ronnie Yeskel, CSA (2012) (The Sessions, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Pulp Fiction)
Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas (2011) – (Breaking Bad)
Eric Dawson, Carol Kritzer and Robert J. Ulrich (2010) – (Glee)