TV and Film

Disability inclusion resources from around the world

Library > Subjects > Culture, Entertainment and Media > TV and Film

This page has curated news on TV and Film. There are resources from 18 countries and regions, with a total of 105 links.

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Highlights

From International News:

11 Movies or TV Shows with Authentic Disability Representation. (2023, Tilting The Lens)

Netflix Sets a High Bar for Inclusion – and Ensures Disability is Part of the Conversation. “While the report shows that Netflix has increasingly improved its diversity in many areas in front of and behind the camera, representation of people with disabilities has slid back from 2019” (2023, Respect Ability)

Inclusion of the facial difference community. “For almost one hundred years movies have cast scarred characters in different versions of the same roles: villains, vigilantes, victims, outcasts.” (2023, Face Equality International)

From Argentina:

Four Feet High A charming series from 2020. A portrait of young people figuring out identity issues on a rollercoaster of relationships, identity, inclusion and exclusion. 'Revolutionises the way the body is represented on the screen' (in Spanish, with subtitles in English and other languages, 2021, Arte TV)

From Middle East and North Africa:

Why Ameera is a Muppet with a wheelchair that doesn't fit. “Should the wheelchair reflect Ameera’s reality or accurately represent her needs? Is it more powerful to show the world as it is, or how it should be?” (2022, CNN)

From the United Kingdom:

‘I’m done with being token deaf character on TV’: Rose Ayling-Ellis, winner of last year's Strictly Come Dancing, important reflections on representation. It's worth watching the whole speech.

“I had to break through countless barriers to get to where I am. It’s been a lonely, upsetting journey, and whilst winning Strictly was an amazing experience, it shouldn’t be allowed to conceal the hardships I have been through to get here.” (2022, the Guardian)

Resources by country:

Global

International News

The rule-breaking audio descriptions of Netflix's All the Light We Cannot See. Netflix accessibility consultant Joe Strechay talks inclusivity on set. (2023, Mashable)

8 Times When Films Or Shows Got Disability Representation Right (2023, Feminism in India)

All the Light We Cannot See review “this terrible mess is a one-way ticket to Triteland” (2023, the Guardian)

10 Best Anime Depictions of Living With a Disability “Some anime stories minimize or overturn physical disabilities, but these ones provide genuine and earnest representation, in a thoughtful manner.” (2023, Screen Rant)

Why are face equality charities calling for film warnings for Halloween? Interview with Phyllida Swift of Face Equality International. (2023, Euronews)

Hugh Grant is an Oompa-Loompa now. “Hugh Grant’s casting as an Oompa-Loompa in ‘Wonka’ feels to some like the latest in a long line of slights against dwarf actors” (2023, Washington Post)

It’s time to reconsider how dwarfism is represented in the entertainment industry

“People with dwarfism are not novelties or figures of fun. Yet their place in entertainment has been culturally constructed as if they are. Actors with dwarfism need to step out of their comfort zone and push for more roles that break away from those purely reliant on height.” (2023, LSE)

‘I don’t like people feeling sorry for us’: inside the world of TV’s disabled dating shows. (2023, the Guardian)

Barbie's wheelchair vs my actual wheelchair a critical comparison by Katie Pennick. (2023, Twitter thread)

Wheelchair Barbie Is a Lesson in the Power of Showing Up Where People Don't Think You Belong (2023, Teen Vogue)

I'm a Barbie girl in an inaccessible world parody song (2023, ItsAliceElla, TikTok)

Interview with Keely Cat-Wells on disability in movies entertainment and across popular culture. (2023, Gerard Quinn)

Unilever calls for production crews to be more inclusive of disability community “For shoots costing more than €100,000 the brand wants to see at least one person who has a disability as a member of the crew.” (2023, Campaign)

11 Movies or TV Shows with Authentic Disability Representation. (2023, Tilting The Lens)

Netflix Sets a High Bar for Inclusion – and Ensures Disability is Part of the Conversation. “While the report shows that Netflix has increasingly improved its diversity in many areas in front of and behind the camera, representation of people with disabilities has slid back from 2019” (2023, Respect Ability)

Inclusion of the facial difference community. “For almost one hundred years movies have cast scarred characters in different versions of the same roles: villains, vigilantes, victims, outcasts.” (2023, Face Equality International)

Meet James Martin, the First Actor With Down Syndrome to Win an Oscar (2023, Bright Side)

Animated Film and Disability a book by Slava Greenberg, Cripping Spectatorship. “Crip animation has the potential to challenge the ableist gaze and immerse viewers in an alternative bodily experience.” (2023, Indiana University Press)

‘Hardly seen as human at all’: will fantasy ever beat its dwarfism problem? (2022, the Guardian)

Ralph and Katie: Disability Content's Coming of Age. (2022, Disability Arts Online)

Bantering Through Disability and Dislocation In “Tuesco,” Daniel Poler documents a Venezuelan family’s use of dark humor to remain buoyant in exile. (2022, The New Yorker)

Subtitles can be terrible: profile on Netflix's head of accessibility. “About 40% of Netflix's global users use them all the time, while 80% use them at least once a month, according to the company's internal data.” (2022, Business Insider)

Marvel's New Spider-Verse Hero Shows the Struggle of a Real Disease. Marvel's newest Spider-Man variant uses a wheelchair and has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. (2022, Screen Rant)

'Cha Cha Real Smooth' Star Vanessa Burghardt on Autism Representation. (2022, Variety)

Netflix is beefing up its its audio description and subtitling accessibility features and has a collection of its shows celebrating disability. (2022, The Verge)

'The Simpsons' Makes History With First Deaf Voice Actor and ASL (2022, Variety)

A detailed look at Inevitable Foundation's Cost of Accommodations Report “features line budget research outlining the actual (not presumed) financial impact accommodations can have on TV and film budgets of various sizes as well as a survey of disabled talent on their experiences requesting accommodations”. For example, “30% of disabled talent have had to pay out-of-pocket for their accommodations.” (2022, Hollywood Reporter)
See analysis and critique of the report from Crip News:

‘“Accommodation” as a framework assumes that we ought not to threaten a status quo. It assumes the benefits of inclusion, where disabled people have access to a process but don’t shape or lead its values. The report is a great example of what we might call inclusionism, accommodationism, incrementalism, or reformism.’

What Season 6 of 'This Is Us' Gets Right About Disability Representation (2022, The Mighty)

Team Zenko Go An All-New Disability Inclusive Series From DreamWorks Animation And Mainframe Studios. “Team Zenko Go has managed to avoid all too familiar disability tropes such as, for instance, villains, victims or inspirations.” (2022, Forbes)

CODA won an Oscar: a flawed triumph for the Deaf community. “The movie and the awards ceremony show the power—and limits—of on-screen representation.” (2022, Slate) See also the tension at the heart of CODA on the Atlantic.

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Middle East and North Africa

Why Ameera is a Muppet with a wheelchair that doesn't fit. “Should the wheelchair reflect Ameera’s reality or accurately represent her needs? Is it more powerful to show the world as it is, or how it should be?” (2022, CNN)

Meet Ameera, Sesame Workshop’s Newest Muppet Friend a young girl that uses a bright purple wheelchair and forearm crutches. (2022, Sesame Street International Social Impact)

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Africa

Uganda

The Ugandan woman behind TV for the deaf (2022, Disability Insider)

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Zambia

He's a singer, a cop and the inspiration for a Netflix film about albinism in Africa: profile of John Chiti. (2023, NPR)

‘Can You See Us’ True Story: How a Zambian Singer With Albinism Inspired the Drama on Netflix (2023, Decider)

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Asia

Bangladesh

Country's first wheelchair-bound news presenter makes debut "an initiative to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream to commemorate the golden jubilee of independence." (2021, The Business Standard)

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India

Disability and Poverty in Dosti 1964 the story of a friendship between two disabled boys. (2023, Neurodivergent India, instagram)

Streaming apps woo differently-abled (2023, Mint)

Making Cinema Accessible To Everyone “The Delhi High Court on January 16, directed the producers of the upcoming movie ‘Pathaan’ (Yash Raj Films), to make the movie accessible for hearing and visually-impaired persons.” (2023, Live Law)

Will ‘Jalsa’ Improve Disability Representation in Indian Popular Culture? (2022, BBC) See more on Surya Kasibhatla, the actor with cerebral palsy that stars in the thriller.

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Japan

Deaf Japanese actor is a sign of the times feature on the movie “Love Love”. (2022, NHK)

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South Korea

Extraordinary Attorney Woo’s episodes have good and bad autistic representation. “In highlighting the realities of discrimination through the microcosmic lens of Hanbada, Extraordinary Attorney Woo excels. [But, as well as reinforcing some misconceptions about autism, the] ultimately supportive nature of Young-woo’s colleagues has led some to criticize the show for being too fantastical.” (2022, Polygon)

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Europe

Germany

Meet Elin, The German Sesame Street's First Muppet with a Disability. (2023, ABILITY Magazine)

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Netherlands

Never Seen “is a documentary produced by Naima Abdullahi that offers us a glimpse into the life of Nimco Hersi and shows how she navigates Dutch society as a Black deaf woman” (2023, Casco Art)

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United Kingdom

The Industry Is Questioning Where The Shows Are two-and-a-half years after the BBC and Netflix unveiled their five-year disability partnership. (Mar, Deadline)

Disabled Actors Deserve To Blend Into The Background, Too “In placing disabled actors into minor roles, disability is progressively being treated as a normal aspect of human variation like differences in height, hair color, or body size.” (Feb, Huffpost)

Is There Anybody Out There? review “Ella Glendining’s intelligent documentary challenges the discriminatory attitudes she faces as a young woman with a rare physical disability” (2023, the Guardian)

Doctor Who's disability representation proves why small moments matter (2023, Radio Times)

Kirkmoore review – disability is way funnier than this comedy can handle. (2023, the Guardian)

Mixmups: Behind the scenes with the disabled stop motion characters. (2023, BBC)

Name Me Lawand review empathic and inspiring portrait of deaf Iraqi refugee boy. (2023, the Guardian)

Disney hasn't gone 'woke' by replacing Snow White's seven dwarves – they’re just treating people like me with respect. (2023, Metro.co.uk)

Disabled artists talk about their experiences working in TV: 'There’s still a lot of work to do'. (2023, BBC)

Doctor Who casting Ruth Madeley is game-changing for disabled fans. (2023, Radio Times)

“An Irish Goodbye:” A New Standard for Disability-Focused Stories. (2023, Respect Ability)

The 5 As: our standards for disability inclusion in the television sector. (2022, BBC)

‘I’m done with being token deaf character on TV’: Rose Ayling-Ellis, winner of last year's Strictly Come Dancing, important reflections on representation. It's worth watching the whole speech.

“I had to break through countless barriers to get to where I am. It’s been a lonely, upsetting journey, and whilst winning Strictly was an amazing experience, it shouldn’t be allowed to conceal the hardships I have been through to get here.” (2022, the Guardian)

Channel4 Disability Code of Portrayal commits to more nuanced approaches in portrayal of disabled people, involving disabled people themselves. (2022, Channel 4)

Starring Rosie Jones Disability Benefits is a comedy take on getting disability benefits from the government, and if that doesn't work, getting the disability benefit in a life of crime. (2022, Channel 4)

Britain's Got Talent 2022 Eva Abley's performances, a 14 year-old comedian. (2022, Adnan Entertainment)

Let’s storm Parliament! Then Barbara Met Alan is a film from BBC on the ”punks who risked their lives to fix ableist Britain”. See also on “these stories change how people think”. (2022, the Guardian) One line I enjoyed from the film: “It was 1990, nothing in law, just a pat on the head and a fuck off if you moan too much”. See also a comment on what the film misses out.

Broadcasters unite to create ‘passports’ “that will remove barriers and support better inclusion of disabled people and other colleagues at work.” (2022, Channel 4)

‘It’s time for us to live our lives to the full’. Line of Duty’s Tommy Jessop on changing the world for people with Down’s syndrome. (2022, the Guardian)

Channel 4 creative brief Disability Disruption commission "ripping up the playbook and showing disabled people as they have never been seen before on British TV." (2022, Channel 4) See also coverage on Broadcast.

I'm thrilled that Rose Ayling-Ellis won Strictly Come Dancing: see her interview in the Guardian talking about her life, career and the show. (2021, the Guardian)

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North America

Canada

How ‘Finality of Dusk’ Breaks New Ground Deaf Cinema-Goers “In the sound design, the bass has been increased to amplify vibrations which can be felt more intensely if you aim to sit in the middle to the back rows inside a movie theater,” (2023, Hollywood Reporter)

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Mexico

‘Iluminados’ by Jorge Curioca a documentary following the blind visual artist Pedro Miranda and the psychic Iris Palau: “two people for whom sight is a central and recurring theme in their lives.” (In Spanish, Feb, IMCINE)

Ana Paula, a young Mexican woman who inspired the film Campeonex. Ana Paula “lives for art and painting. She has autism, is non-verbal and for much of her life she was unable to communicate with her family.” (In Spanish, 2023, Yo También)

Disability has a minimum presence on Mexican television: to marginalize is to discriminate. (In Spanish, 2023, Yo También.)

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United States

Directing While Disabled: What I Learned Directing My First Short Film with A Physical Disability (May, Respect Ability)

Disabled Kids Are Rarely In Films. We're Aiming To Fix That. “When parents see their families portrayed authentically, it fosters a sense of validation, empathy and belonging.” (May, Huffpost)

Oscar contender Poor Things is a film about disability. Why won’t more people say so? (Mar, The Conversation)

How Dune shows us the power of language – including sign language:

“While not deaf themselves, Dune’s characters show us deaf gain through deft manipulation of their environment, from the stealth of their signs to their attunement to the vibrations they make in the sand, which they use to attract or repel the giant beasts below.” (Mar, The Conversation)

Oscars: Academy Outlines Its Disability Accessibility Efforts “The 2024 Oscars will include confidential accessibility requests for all nominees and guests, captioning, audio description, in-theater assisted listening devices, accessible seating and parking, and a suite of ASL interpretation services.” (Mar, Hollywood Reporter)

‘Still: A Michael J. Fox’ Movie: ‘Crip Camp’ Director Praises the Film. (Jan, IndieWire)

Marvel’s Echo Star Alaqua Cox Is Breaking Down Hollywood Barriers “Cox is making history with Echo, the first Marvel show centered on a deaf, Native American superhero.” (Jan, Teen Vogue)

Aria Mia Loberti Embraces ‘All the Light We Cannot See’. ‘The first-time leading lady reflects on the audition that changed her life, reveals her next role in another high-profile book adaptation, and resists being labeled a “blind actor.”’ (2023, Vanity Fair) See more on “an authentic blind heroine” from Newsweek.

Exploring the Imaginative Worlds of Blind Children in “The Unicorn in Snowpants Suddenly Ran Off”. “Philipp Schaeffer’s film is a glimpse at the overlap of play and perception.” (2023, The New Yorker)

One of Us: Tod Browning’s Freaks. A 1932 film, “the most infamous disability film of the first half of the twentieth century and in some ways still the most progressive.”:

“An early noir about a group of disabled carnival performers who enact swift and terrible vengeance upon the non-disabled grifters who prey upon one of their own and in so doing, offend them all, Freaks is still an equally amiable and nasty piece of work nearly a century after its debut.” (2023, Disability Visibility Project)

Watchlist: 7 Documentaries by Artists with Disabilities (2023, Sundance.org)

For Disabled Writers and Actors on Strike, Picket Line Access Is Key. (2023, Hollywood Reporter)

Ezra: Is Hollywood Getting Better at Autistic Representation? “Ezra continues in this new tradition, showing that when autistic people are creatively involved it strengthens not only representation, but the very quality of a film itself.” (2023, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism)

If Hollywood gets worse for workers, it will get worse for disabled workers first (2023, Los Angeles Times)

Behind the Lens Wheelchair Users Tell Their Stories in Acclaimed Documentaries (2023, New Mobility)

Why the 1932 Movie ‘Freaks’ Is a Touchstone for Disability Representation. “Though it has detractors, scholars and advocates have largely embraced this film for the way it shows people just living their lives while disabled.” (2023, New York Times)

Human Resources a character based on Alice Wong features in the second season. (2023, HITC)

For disabled writers, the WGA strike stakes couldn’t be higher. “This is true even on the picket lines themselves, where disabled writers have had to advocate for the accommodations they need to participate.” (2023)

‘It's Little People, You Got That?’: Danny Woodburn on Playing Mickey Abbott, the Most Explosive Character on ‘Seinfeld’. (2023, Cracked.com)

A year after ‘CODA’ made Oscars history, Deaf people are waiting for more inclusive stories. (2023, GBH News)

Creators Ask Hollywood to Hire Disabled Writers: “Disabled writers, directors, and actors are rarely hired to work on projects that feature disabled characters because studios and production companies have prioritized hiring disability consultants.” (2023, Variety)

'I Didn't See You There' Is a Disability Film Unlike Any Other - The Atlantic (2023, The Atlantic) Also on the Guardian.

Short Film “Take Me Home” Captures Empathy During Mourning. The short follows a cognitively disabled adult named Anna who lives with her aging mother in Midland, Florida. (2023, Respect Ability)

‘Sometimes you felt excluded’: How debut director Marlee Matlin righted past wrongs (2023, Los Angeles Times)

Oscar's Final Frontier: Movies Featuring Disabilities. “This year's race includes a handful of films on the topic; it's not enough but there is progress.” (2022, Variety)

‘Best Foot Forward’ Is a Story About, and by, People With Disabilities (2022, New York Times)

Captioned Video Accessibility. “Stranger Things” Captions, a Fascinating Case Study: “Captions are not the place to exercise creativity”. (2022, Meryl Evans)

Accurate Disability Representation In Mass Media: 8 Powerful Film and Television Performances By Actors With Disabilities. (2022, Kids Included Together)

DisLabeled, a short pilot episode, The Original Hackers. “Join comedian Brian McCarthy and other disabled designers, creators, and advocates who help him navigate his sudden vision loss with humor, innovation, and authenticity.” (2022, Bric TV)

Ahead of the Golden Globes Shining a Spotlight on Disability-Inclusive Nominations (2022, Respect Ability)

‘As We See It’ Is Not a Typical Portrayal of Autism starring three leads who are on the autism spectrum (2022, NYT)

‘CODA’ Script: Read Siân Heder’s Screenplay That Spotlights Deaf Culture (2022, Deadline)

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Oceania

Australia

Heartbreak High's Quinni and the importance of autistic representation. “Heartbreak High feels like the representation that autistic women like myself have been seeking for so long.” (Apr, D*List)

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New Zealand

Applying the Fries Test in Aotearoa “Does a work have more than one disabled character? Do the disabled characters have their own narrative purpose other than the education and profit of a non-disabled character? Is the character’s disability just a part of them, or are they eradicated either by curing or killing them?” (2023, Arts Access Aotearoa)

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South America

Argentina

Four Feet High A charming series from 2020. A portrait of young people figuring out identity issues on a rollercoaster of relationships, identity, inclusion and exclusion. 'Revolutionises the way the body is represented on the screen' (in Spanish, with subtitles in English and other languages, 2021, Arte TV)

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Chile

Cromosoma 21: the Chilean series that is making impact on Netflix (In Spanish, 2023, Yo También)

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