TORONTO, April 5, 2022 /CNW/ – AMI, in partnership with Winterhouse Films Inc. (Wild Archaeology, Three Lives of Kate), is pleased to announce the launch of Break character, Wednesday April 27at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv.
Over the past decade, less than three percent of films featured a character with a disability. And, often, these rarer roles have been played by neurotypical and able-bodied actors. But the industry is at a turning point as it feels pressure for more inclusive representation. Major broadcasters have committed to auditioning actors with disabilities. Advertisers create campaigns that reflect disabilities in relevant ways while promoting their products. Those who lead the fight are not just those in front of the camera, but the people who represent them.
Break character is a candid 10-part documentary series capturing the journey of these groundbreaking artists as they navigate the fast-paced and sometimes ruthless entertainment industry of Hollywood North. Each episode delves into the day-to-day lives of the performers and takes us behind the scenes as they go through the audition process, hone their craft, eagerly await news on whether they got the gig, and adjust to the pressures. of life in the company.
“Representing the interests, concerns and values of people with disabilities through accessible media, reflection and representation is central to AMI’s vision,” said John Melville, vice president, content development and programming, AMI-audio/AMI-tv. “We hope Break character will move the conversation forward and lead to true diversity on stage and screen.”
Meet the performers
Alexia Vassos – Theater and film actor, little person
Alexia was the first little person to graduate from her college’s theater and drama program. After leaving the safe haven of academia, she embarks on a journey to find her place in the industry, whether on stage, on screen or in an audio booth. Alexia is open to many avenues, but one thing is certain: she will not be tokenized.
Dan Barra Berger — Comedian, legally blind
Dan, a visually impaired comedian, is on the long list of Radio Canada following series of contests. Now he just has to become a regular on the comedy club circuit. Corn humor is at the heart of everything he does, as is storytelling. With the support of his partner, Michelle, Dan is on his way to combining these talents to make people laugh, subvert their expectations and advocate for a more accessible world.
Caeden Lawrence — Television/film actor, hard of hearing
A bartender by day, Caeden scored several small roles in film and television. But after being diagnosed with progressive genetic hearing loss, he breaks through new barriers in the industry. Caeden fears the powers that be see him as “responsible” on set, and wonders if he’d better find safety in the restaurant industry.
Young Tai — Performer/personality, wheelchair user
At 17, Tai is already a seasoned performer having appeared in numerous musical theater productions, commercials and television shows. As a wheelchair user, he is passionate about the portrayal of disability in the media and has participated in national advocacy campaigns. Tai counts photography, makeup, fashion, tennis and skiing among her many interests. As for what happens after graduating, Tai refuses to be stuck.
Catherine Joell McKinnon — Actor/Filmmaker/ASL Coach, Deaf
An established and deaf actress, Catherine grew up on the east coast and lived in Toronto since the 90s. One of the highlights of his career was playing – the same year – the wife of Alexander Graham Bell on screen in Murdoch Mysteries and his mother on stage at Silence. In addition to acting, Catherine has made a name for herself as a Master Dialect Coach and Deaf Consultant for major productions. Although juggling in front of and behind the camera presents challenges, Catherine is determined to make it work.
Rachel Romu — Model/Musician/Activist, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
A Thunder Bay, Ontarionative, Rachel is a model, musician and activist with a connective tissue disorder and a history of multiple spine surgeries tumors. After having to reinvent themselves after surgery and diagnosis, they are determined to become a disability mogul, one record and one track at a time.
First season of Break character incorporates integrated video description (IDV) which makes it accessible to blind or visually impaired people. Break character was filmed under strict local COVID-19 protocols.
Break character makes its debut Wednesday April 27at 8 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv. Episodes can be streamed on demand on AMI.ca and the AMI-tv app for Apple and Android.
About Winterhouse Films Inc.
Winterhouse Films Inc. is a Torontoa New York-based film and television company dedicated to creating compelling and meaningful content at the heart of which is adventure, forward-looking exploration, and inclusion. The management team emerged on the Canadian television scene with a collection of documentary series, one-offs and short films that aired on OMNI, BRAVO! Radio Canada and APTN.
About Accessible Media Inc.
AMI is a non-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and sustain a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through through accessible media, reflection and representation. To learn more, visit AMI.ca and AMItele.ca.
SOURCE Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
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