Georgia Council On Developmental Disabilities and Splendidvid Win National Telly Award for “Voices Beyond The Mirror”
Georgia Council On Developmental Disabilities and Splendidvid Win National Telly Award for "Voices Beyond The Mirror"
Video Series Profiles Everyday Realities of People Living with Disabilities
ATLANTA, GA (August 8, 2012) – Candid reflections and personal stories from people with disabilities pack a powerful message in a series of online public awareness videos that recently earned a national 2012 Telly Award. The "Voices Beyond The Mirror" video series, a production of Georgia Council On Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) with Atlanta-based Splendidvid, won the bronze award for excellence in the non-broadcast productions/social issues category.
GCDD created the 10-part, online video series to foster familiarity and understanding, spread knowledge and spark conversation because studies show that, although 54 million Americans and one in five Georgians live with disability, there is a general lack of awareness of and exposure to persons with disabilities and the daily challenges they face according to a 2010 research study commissioned by GCDD, the Benchmark Study on Public Awareness of Disabilities.
"We originally planned to produce a video to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights and Assistance Act, acknowledging the federal legislation that established entities like GCDD across the US and territories," said Valerie Meadows Suber, GCDD Public Information Director and series creator. "But it quickly became apparent that the project could be even more meaningful and relevant if we dug into some issues and broadened the dialogue by reaching out to our network of advocates and partners. 'Voices' is more than a then-and-now snapshot; it's an opportunity to listen deeply for fresh perspectives on often overlooked aspects of community life," she said.
The centerpiece video in the "Voices" series premiered last year at the GCDD "Making A Difference Annual Appreciation Ceremony." It is a thoughtful look into the everyday realities of living with various disabilities. Viewers meet:
- Eleanor, a woman in her 70s whose childhood polio requires the use of a wheelchair, who remembers life without access and now champions accessible homes as the founder of Concrete Change;
- Charlie, a high school junior with cerebral palsy, who excels in school and is active with youth with and without disabilities in his community through model programs like Partnerships for Success; and
- Angad, a Middle School student with Down Syndrome, who enjoys karate, who wants to be a police officer and whose mother, Aartie, is a tireless disability advocate
"We were honored but not surprised to receive this Telly," said David Bernknopf, founding principal of Splendidvid, a production company that provides media to non-profit, corporate and music clients. "We worked closely with GCDD for six months to ensure we accurately portrayed a diverse range of ages, disabilities and social factors. We netted out with an honest, compassionate, educational, sometimes poignant, sometimes funny series featuring real people sharing real challenges and triumphs. It's an impactful collection."
In addition to the stories profiled in the Centerpiece video, nine other video shorts round out the series and feature anecdotes and musings from:
- A husband and wife who talk about prevailing public attitudes on blindness and the need to be accepting of differences;
- A transportation advocate who dreams of driving an accessible car designed for visually impaired persons;
- A recent college graduate who shares stories of school experiences as a deaf child and the positive impact of technology on the lives of hearing impaired persons;
- A college administrator with cerebral palsy who emphasizes the importance of respect, disability etiquette and People First Language;
- A rights activist who uses a wheelchair and appreciates it when his daughter advocates on his behalf;
- A young man with cerebral palsy who talks about the dignity of work, his future aspirations and why he loves his job at Stone Mountain State Park;
- A young woman with Down Syndrome who longs for a job with the necessary supports and her mother who sees work as key to her daughter living independently in the community;
- A state senator whose son has disabilities discusses the ADA and other disability legislation with emphasis on the true spirit of the law, not just the letter;
- A lawyer and researcher who discusses sexual health for people with significant disabilities and her call to confront "abelism" in today's culture;
- A father with a spinal cord injury who reflects on father-son relationships with his 10 year old;
- Georgia Partners of the Federal Developmental Disabilities Network who contrast today's public policy accomplishments with the challenges of the past.
"With over 3,500 website views of the series and multiple requests for DVD copies to use at conferences and trainings, the result is that people with disabilities are sharing frank, open discussions with the general public on a wider scale. Our real goal is greater inclusion of people with disabilities through increased public awareness and engagement," Suber continued. "But this award recognition is certainly a welcome and appreciated added boost of encouragement."
"Voices Beyond The Mirror" captured the Bronze Telly Statue at the 33rd annual award judging which for over 25 years has honored the very best film and video productions, groundbreaking online video content, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. The Telly award statuette is designed by the same firm that makes the Oscar® and Emmy® prizes. All Telly Award judges are top advertising and production professionals. David Bernknopf and Valerie Meadows Suber produced "Voices Beyond The Mirror" for GCDD. Production staff included associate producers Rebecca Peterson and Willie Chriesman; videographer, sound engineer and editor Harold Sellers; and production assistant Dee Spearman. All "Voices Beyond the Mirror" videos are open captioned for the hearing impaired and vary in length from 2 minutes to 11 minutes. The series, which can be viewed at www.gcdd.org, is available to individuals, groups and organizations without charge as a support to advocacy and policy efforts throughout Georgia and nationwide.
GCDD, a federally funded independent state agency, works to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play and worship in Georgia communities. A developmental disability is a chronic mental and/or physical disability that occurs before age 22 and is expected to last a lifetime. Visit www.gcdd.org for more information.
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