The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge is proud to announce the 2018 finalists. With the most participants ever, the 2018 film challenge proved to be the toughest competition yet. We are so excited to see this growth as we celebrate our fifth year!

Awards are presented in four categories: Best Awareness Campaign, Best Actor, Best Filmmaker and Best Film. The award winners will be announced on Thursday, May 10th at United Talent Agency.

Each of these finalists will also receive:

  • An invitation to an exclusive roundtable discussion with agents at United Talent Agency prior to the Awards reception on May 10, 2018
  • A one-year subscription to Variety Magazine
  • Inclusion in the 2018 Bentonville Film Festival

Thank you to our amazing judges, and congratulations to our 2018 finalists!

Best Awareness Campaign

The Best Awareness Campaign award is presented to the leading producer for the team that raises the most awareness for their film through marketing strategies. Judges will review the YouTube videos for number of overall views, shares, likes, and press coverage.

The award recipient will receive a mentorship opportunity with the Executive Vice President of Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion and Communications at CBS Entertainment, Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i.


Footloose – David Tenenbaum

Gia and Dragon – John Lawson

Jordan’s Cake – Shanalyna Palmer

Uncommon Ground – Lori Saux

Best Actor

The Best Actor award is presented to the actor with the most memorable performance. Judges consider the complexity of the character and the actor’s ability to take on this challenging role.

The award recipient will receive a mentorship opportunity with Casting Director Pam Dixon.


Limited Space – Eric Graise

Rivals or Friends – Tamara Mena

The #1 Fan – Dennis “Scooby” Willoughby

Visibility – J.B. Abajian

Best Filmmaker

The Best Filmmaker award is presented to the director of the film with the most outstanding direction of acting, cinematography and storytelling. Judges base their decision on the director’s ability to evoke emotions in specific scenes as well as surrounding the overall film as appropriate.

The award recipient will receive a mentorship opportunity with Bec Smith – Agent, Motion Picture Literary and UTA Independent Film Group.


Ain’t Woke – Cory Reeder

Hit On – Day Daniells

Visibility – Keenan O’Reilly

Woody’s Beans – Joel Blacker

Best Film

The Best Film award is presented to the leading producer based on the film’s incorporation of the required elements (theme, props and locations), production quality and plotline. Judges evaluate the film on its creative storytelling and performances from all onscreen talent.

The award recipient will receive a mentorship opportunity with a Universal Pictures and/or Focus Features Production Executive.


Best Enemies – Emily Hopper

Check Mate – Carl Hansen

Committed – Rachel Handler

Visibility – Scott Rosendall