The Blackmagic Collective All Access initiative  is focused on helping disabled writers and directors create valuable contacts with key players in the industry, all in an effort to help accomplished filmmakers make a jump into more lucrative work. The goal of the initiative is to not only introduce the fellows to those in hiring positions, but to open a dialogue with executives about the need for more authentic representation of disability both behind and in front of the camera, and to help foster more opportunities for future work.

Meet the 2021 All Access Participants

Cashmere Jasmine

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Faith Strongheart

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Nico Pinzon

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Shannon DeVido

WRITER/ACTOR

Natalia Provatas

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Lesley Hennen

WRITER/PRODUCER

Juliet Romeo

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Rachel Handler

WRITER/PRODUCER

Over the course of the one-year initiative, the curated group of eight fellows, helmed by Initiative Director, Shannon DeVido (Best Summer Ever, Difficult People) will work to develop their marketing packages, including reels and/or pilot scripts; and will also take part in ongoing meetings with showrunners, head writers, and other industry leaders who can help provide great future career opportunities. By the end of the program, fellows will have honed the skills needed to see their projects from script to screen.

Cashmere Jasmine Director/ Writer/ Producer who creates provocative surrealist dramas. Her brand is Dramas revolve around taboos and the complexities of identity seen through lenses of class, race, sexuality, and even criminality; deconstructing  perceptions with her real-life experiences and a dark  humor. 

Born to undocumented immigrants in South Florida,  Cashmere Jasmine had goals of being a congress-bound attorney.  Her aspirations turned into working in finance at Merrill Lynch until the 2008 recession, ironically, when her disability shifted her path out of necessity.  Unwilling to let something like missing major organs get in her way, Cashmere’s journey led her from South Florida to Boston, to Southern California. Where she creates film and new media with a dedication to featuring BIPOCs on both sides of the camera, she has produced award-winning shorts Bombs Bursting in Air (L.A. Intl. Film Fest, 2020) and Weenie (Buffer Film Fest, 2019),  primarily focusing on LGBTQIA+ and disability-inclusive stories. She is slated to is Sia (2022), as she finishes post-production on her self-reflective identity series of shorts she wrote and directed, Oreo (2021)

Cashmere continues to develop Invisibility, an anthology series about existing in between the labels on the LGBTQIA spectrum and Bitter about a woman with the best intentions recently fallen from grace, willing to do anything to maintain custody of her little sister and get a transplant; including using MDMA and Tinder for larceny. 

Faith Strongheart – is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She received her MFA in directing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and has written, produced and directed several short films which have screened at festivals around the world.  In addition, she has written several features and TV screenplays. Faith continues to work as a production coordinator/supervisor on feature films, allowing her invaluable access to the imaginative integrity of some of the most visionary filmmakers today. She has been supported by several organizations and was a fellow in the 2020 Respectability Entertainment Lab. She is currently making a feature documentary about her extraordinary upbringing and is in development on her first narrative feature. Faith is doing her best to raise two kind humans in this crazy world.

FaithStrongheart.com

Nico Pinzon – Writer/Director Nico Pinzon, is a Colombian-American writer and director who specializes in dramedy and sci-fi narratives about outcasts and the marginalized. At 11-years-old, Nico and his family left Colombia under a direct threat from guerrilla group, FARC, and settled west of Miami where Nico soaked in the culture. As a survivor of the war on drugs, an immigrant, a person with a mild case of cerebral palsy, and a graduate of UCLA’s MFA Screenwriting program, Nico is committed to telling fun and daring stories about diverse underdogs who challenge the way we think about the groups they represent.

In 2018, Nicolas’ feature screenplay, El Camino, won Final Draft’s Big Break diversity category and was a top 8 finalist (among 7,000) for the overall prize. His screenplays have also reached: the finals of the Alfred P. Sloan Grant, the semifinals of the Humanitas Carol Mendelsohn Drama Fellowship, and the semifinals of the Academy Nicholl Fellowship, among others.

Nico is currently in pre-production of his first feature film, which is scheduled to premiere nation-wide in 2022.

His short film, Beyond Goldenhill, premiered at the Weyauwega International Film Festival in 2015 to strong reviews.

Shannon DeVido – BAFTA Breakthrough actress and ViacomCBS Showcase 2021 participant, Shannon DeVido is best known for her roles in Hulu’s Difficult People, Netflix’s Insatiable, Comedy Central’s Delco Proper, and Law and Order: SVU, as well as appearances on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and Sesame Street.

Shannon starred in the world premieres of Michael Lew’s dark comedy Teenage Dick at the Public Theater and Samuel D. Hunter’s The Healing. Shannon has also acquired a dedicated following on her disability-focused comedy YouTube channel Stare at Shannon. She leads the cast of the full-length independent feature film Best Summer Ever, an award-winning musical comedy which screened at SXSW 2021.

www.shannondevido.com  

Natalia Provatas – Writer/Director. ½ hr Comedy. She is a published personal essayist, and her work often reflects how she grew up: looking at the funny-side of dark stuff.  Her personal essay What It’s Really Like Inside the Elite Conference for Health Bros for Refinery 29 was voted one of Apple News’ “Weekly Must Reads.” Additional published work can be found in Real Simple Magazine, Dame Magazine. Her short film Canary Suicides won the Audience Award at Holly Shorts, and was an official selection at both SXSW and Cleveland International Film Festival.

Previously, Natalia was on the writing team of BOO: Earth Division for DreamWorks Animation Television. A fellow in National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) Series Script Writer’s Program. A fellow in the 2020 Disruptor’s Fellowship facilitated by Joey Solloway’s 5050by2020 and The Center of Cultural Power. She is currently working on her memoir, Ghosting My Death Doula, a series of personal essays about having cancer in your thirties. 

www.nataliaprovatas.com 

Lesley Hennen Writer, producer, and recovering publicist currently based in Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and is also a graduate of The Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School, where she honed her niche of telling female-driven dark comedies, often inspired by her own life experiences of living with a physical disability. Lesley’s original pilot script, Uninspired, won “Best of Fest” at the 2020 Women in Comedy Festival’s “Pitch Your First Five Pages” competition, presented by HBO, and recently advanced to the Quarterfinalist stage of Atlanta Film Festival’s 2021 Screenplay Competition. Lesley’s original pilot script, Walk & Roll also recently placed as a Finalist in WeScreenplay’s Diverse Voices Lab, WeScreenplay’s TV Pilot Contest, as well as a Semifinalist in ScreenCraft’s TV Pilot Contest.

In 2020, Lesley was accepted into RespectAbility’s Summer Lab Program for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. After completing the program, Lesley continues to work with RespectAbility, facilitating consultation requests from studios, production companies, and independent filmmakers in an effort to promote more authentic representations of people with disabilities on-screen, as well as more inclusive working environments for people with disabilities behind the camera.

Specialty: Comedy, Dark Comedy, Dramedy

Links: www.lesleyhennen.com @LesleyHennen

Juliet Romeo – Disabled Afro-Caribbean Writer-Director.  She writes screenplays for television and film that focus on women centered empowerment, social issues that bring awareness and amplify diverse and differently abled voices while still entertaining. She uses her life experience as a Caribbean, women of color with a disability to create unique and authentic narratives and content that touch people’s lives in positive ways. Her award-winning documentary J.U.L.E.S Miami Media Film Market Best Pitch competition winner, Doc Without Borders 2020 Award. PBS Film-Maker television series. She recently completed a sequel for the PBS series titled Art Of Warriors. Recipient of the 2019 Firelight Media Groundwork Lab.                                                         

Juliet is the co-founder and the origin story of Slamdance Film Festival UNSTOPPABLE program; a new initiative devoted to promoting disability and diversity inclusion in film.  Featured in Screen Daily, Deadline She is currently writing a comedy/drama pilot, Best Laid Plans, about four diverse women navigating life, relationships and getting into trouble along the way.  

Rachel Handler Writer/Producer/Actor. Raised in Atlantic City and currently residing in Jersey City, Rachel is a Jersey girl through and through, but you’d never guess that when you’re greeted by her friendly, midwest-ish charm! She’s written and produced several award-winning short films shot in Jersey, praised by NJ.com, NJmonthly.com, and outside critics, too

From winning the AT&T Underrepresented Filmmaker Award for her short, Committed, to winning the Sundance Co//ab Monthly Challenge for her script The A Doesn’t Stand for Accessible, to winning the Reelabilities 27 Second Film Competition for her commercial Authentically Me, Rachel is committed to disability inclusion in every project she creates. 

Rachel began her career as an actor in John Schneider’s horror comedy, Smothered, and quickly began booking roles in the NYC procedurals, Law & Order: SVU, Bull, New Amsterdam, and traveling outside the East Coast to film shows like Goliath and NCIS: New Orleans.

Watch her most recent film.  

“The need for more diversity and inclusive representation in film and TV continues to remain at the forefront of the industry; however, the disability community is all too often overlooked in these conversations,” says Jenn Page, current Executive Director of Blackmagic Collective, and alumnus of the Future Women of TV 2020 program. “Each of the fellows that we’ve selected for the ‘All Access’ initiative are more than qualified and ready to bring their voices and talents to the table. We’re excited for them to connect with more executives and other contacts in hiring positions through the program, to level up their careers and bring even more of their stories to the screen.” 

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