Press Reset: Urgent call for change in the media backed by disabled celebrities

The new campaign seeks to inspire gatekeepers and those in positions of authority across film and TV to reset practices and establish a new, more inclusive normal. 

The British Film Institute (BFI) and its Advisory Board has launched Press Reset, a short film and digital campaign urgently calling for the screen sector to change how the industry engages with disabled talent both behind and in front of the camera. 

DISCUSSION

Press Reset will screen as part of a panel event showcasing Rising Phoenix, a new documentary directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui. 16 per cent of the film’s working days were fulfilled by people who identify as D/deaf or disabled.

The documentary tells the story of the Paralympic Games and will launch on Netflix on 26 August 2020.

Rising Phoenix has seen a discussion on how to unlock barriers to authentic representation of disability on screen and of crew that identify as disabled gaining access to work in the industry. 

Time to RESET

As the majority of screen production in the UK has been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Press Reset urges the industry to ensure there is equality for all as productions begin to restart. 

The Reset campaign offers clear and concise actions to rebuild an industry which is more inclusive and with equal opportunities for all. 

The campaign asks industry players to: Recruit responsibly; Engage with the D/deaf and disabled community; Set targets; provide Equal Pay; Think about access. 

CALLS FOR CHANGE

As part of the campaign, disabled talent are calling for urgent change: 

Adam Pearson, presenter, actor and campaigner: “Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, as far as disability and inclusion was concerned, the industry was very much broken. And now we’re in the midst of Covid, the industry it’s pretty much broken for everyone. Welcome to our world!”

Lindsey Dryden, director and producer: “We don’t want to go back to the way the world was before, because it wasn’t working for so many underrepresented, marginalised and incredibly talented artists. If you’re thinking about your bottom line, you could actively include and cater to the 13.9 million disabled people in the UK who are longing to see themselves depicted on screen and in the arts. And who would pay money to see themselves on screen and in the arts.”

David Proud, actor and writer: “If we’re being brutally honest, the industry was just wasn’t working for disabled artists. And when disabled stories were being told, they were largely being told by non-disabled people. When we rebuild our industry, don’t rebuild the barriers. It is really time the harness that rich diverse mix of talent and let disabled people tell their own amazing stories.”

Frankie Clarence, actor: “The media in the UK is on the brink of being irrelevant because it is not replicating reality, i.e. the reality of everyday life of disability. We have this opportunity now to press the reset button and actually capture what reality actually is.”

Kyla Harris, actor, writer and activist: “Disabled people are often left out of the debate about diversity, but we need to be included in these conversations and included in the industry. We are full of diverse, interesting, authentic stories, and it is time to include us from script to awards stage.

Sam Renke, actor: “Don’t be scared of using the ‘D’ word disability needs to be talked about, and it is fine if a disabled person is at the forefront. Invite disabled people to the table, we can direct you to a whole host of disabled talent.”

Andrew Miller, UK Government’s Disability Champion for Arts & Culture: “Before this pandemic, representation of disabled people was wholly inadequate in our industry, but solid progress towards equality was being made. We mustn’t allow the pandemic to risk disabled people becoming invisible in our media once again. It’s time to Press Reset.”

Dan Edge, actor: “This is a time for us to press the reset button. To make sure that all D/deaf and disabled talent are included in the film, television and theatre industries moving forward.”

How would you like the screen industry to Press Reset? Let the #EnableCommunity know over on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.