MMG DISCUSSES DISABILITY AND SHATTERING STEREOTYPES
WITH HOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR JENNI GOLD
Maslow Media Group is proud to honor a trailblazing female director and producer, Jenni Gold. In her upcoming film, Cinemability, Jenni challenges directors and producers everywhere to rethink stereotypical portrayals of disability in film and television.
How does Hollywood portray disability? Is it changing?
We assume that as society becomes more enlightened, films will reflect that. Yet, we still find instances of regression: stereotypical portrayals that are shocking. Some filmmakers continue to base their work on what they have seen in the past instead of having a true understanding of disability. The media has tremendous power to influence society’s understanding of those who are different.
Why have characters always been defined by their disabilities?
In reality, a wheelchair user for example is not thinking about their wheelchair every day. That person is concerned with the same things as everyone else: work, traffic, love and all that life throws at us. Having a disability isn’t the only thing that defines a person. However, many people still believe that it is the only story and it shows.
As a woman living with a disability in this industry, what kinds of challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Working women directors are very far and few between and so the fact that I also use a wheelchair just added another hurdle. I started my own production company and created my own projects so that I could hire myself. Sometimes you have to make your own opportunities. Filmmaking and storytelling are like breathing to me. It’s something I have to do.
Maslow Media Group Inc. is a certified woman-owned business that provides crewing, staffing, payroll, creative and government services. How are the projects that you manage typically staffed?
We use crews that we know and when working in other locations we utilize staffing agencies like Maslow Media Group. It is important to know that you can count on crew members you are hiring and Maslow Media Group gives you that confidence.
Was the staffing and crewing unique for this particular project?
Yes. It was different in that we were filming a documentary over a long period of time. I had my small team of people working on it and we were often required to shoot with short notice. If an A-list star was suddenly available, we needed to drop everything and go. So it wasn’t a standard preproduction and production. This was a “catch it when you can” type of project.
What types of dialogue do you hope this film will inspire in the industry?
I think it will inspire dialogue about inclusion and a new understanding of disability. Plus I hope people will say: “Wow that documentary was fun and entertaining!”
Cinemability is being released in 2015 to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Don’t miss it.