Expanding Inclusion in Hollywood

Expanding Inclusion in Hollywood: Issues Facing Members with Disabilities

January 11, 2023 A DGA Special Panel Discussion

On January 11, the DGA hosted the panel discussion, Expanding Inclusion in Hollywood: Issues Facing Members with Disabilities. The online event focused on the challenges members with disabilities face working as Directors and Assistant Directors.

In a highly personal conversation moderated by Director Jenni Gold (CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion), Directors Ashley Eakin (Growing Up), Nandi Bowe (Statistically Speaking) and Peter Farrelly (Green Book) covered subjects that spoke to the persistent struggle disabled persons have in navigating an industry structured with limited to no accommodation supports.

Eakin recalled her experiences working as production assistant on set and getting questions about why her body was the way it is. It ultimately resulted in her decision to downplay her disability in order to secure work.

Farrelly addressed the history of typecasting in the industry and expressed the need to open doors for underrepresented communities such as people with disabilities. He also revealed ways he has been able to create those opportunities for others.

Bowe, who recently made the move to Director, discussed the considerations she had to make as an Assistant Director after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She recalled how she was hesitant to pursue opportunities until she saw an opportunity seeking out disabled directorial team members.

The panelists also highlighted the importance of studio resources like Accessibility Coordinators and how that supports creating an inclusive set that allows Directors and Directing Team members with disabilities to pursue careers in the industry.

See video from this event in the gallery below.

Note: The DGA is currently in the process of gathering information regarding the number of members who identify as people with disabilities. If you would like to self-identify (publicly or privately) as a person with a disability, please update your member profile on your personal account on www.dga.org.


Nandi-BoweNandi Bowe
Prior to taking the Director’s chair on her short film, Statistically Speaking, Bowe’s Assistant Directing credits include features such as Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Bill Duke’s Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus, Phil Alden Robinson’s Sneakers, Garry Marshall’s Frankie and Johnny and Julie Dash’s Funny Valentines; and episodes of the series Just JordanThe Stones and Method & Red. Bowe has been a DGA member since 1989.


Ashley-EakinAshley Eakin
Eakin’s directorial credits include episodes of the series Growing Up and Best Foot Forward; and the shorts Forgive Us Our TrespassesBlue and Exo. Her other short films, Single and Roommates, earned nominations for the Narrative Short Grand Jury Award at the 2020 and 2022 SXSW festival. Eakin became a DGA member in 2021. 


Peter-FarrellyPeter Farrelly
Farrelly’s directorial credits include the feature films Hall PassThe Heartbreak KidShallow HalThere’s Something About MaryKingpinDumb and Dumber and Dumb and Dumber To (all with his brother Bobby Farrelly); as well as solo projects including the feature film The Greatest Beer Run Ever; the movie for television Cuckoo; the pilot for the series Unhitched; and episodes of the series Loudermilk. He was also nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for his Academy Award-winning 2018 film, Green Book. Farrelly has been a DGA member since 1994. 

Jenni-GoldJenni Gold (moderator)
Gold’s directorial credits include the feature Ready, Willing & Able; the documentary CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion; episodes of 8-Bit Animal Playhouse with Jason Mewes; and the short films SPF 1000Dumpster DivingShadow of DeathNow Showing and Panic. Gold has been a DGA member since 1997.  

The DGA's Diversity and Inclusion Mission

The Directors Guild of America believes storytelling should be as diverse as the world around us, and that a critical mass of different perspectives on screen is vital for the wellbeing and development of society. Our goal is to be a global industry leader in the fight against discrimination by working to fairly represent all of our members and to increase employment opportunities for DGA members from under-represented groups to achieve fair and equitable representation that reflects the population. We are also committed to fair and equitable representation within the Guild’s leadership and staff, and are determined to build and maintain an inclusive union. We will engage companies, studios, and producers who are responsible for hiring directors and members of the directorial team to achieve equitable, inclusive hiring practices for women and ethnic minority Guild members. We will create continuing educational opportunities for our existing members designed to prepare and promote a diverse talent pool. We will expand the widening of the talent pool by encouraging the industry to hire more diverse talent to join the ranks of the Guild.



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