Prime Video and Easterseals Disability Services will co-present a candid conversation about authentic neurodiverse representation with “As We See It” creator Jason Katims and the cast of the prime video series — including including Rick Glassman (“Jack”), Sue Ann Pien (“Violet”), Albert Rutecki (“Harrison”), Sosie Bacon (“Mandy”), and Chris Pang (“Van”).
The conversation, titled “#ActuallyAuthentic,” is moderated by actor and comedian Ron Funches and will discuss the process of creating a series that authentically portrays the Autism experience. Series stars Glassman, Rutecki, and Pien all identify as living on the autism spectrum. Easterseals was among the groundbreaking organizations that provided consultative support on the series.
“We’re honored to join forces with Easterseals to celebrate the unique experiences of neurodiverse people, and encourage creatives with cognitive, intellectual, and physical disabilities to continue telling their stories,” said Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studios’ head of diversity, equity and inclusion.
The virtual panel was shown during the Sundance Film Festival and will be accessible to all on Amazon Live and Amazon Prime Video’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 4 p.m. EST.
This panel is the fifth installment of Prime Video’s Voices series, which explores the history and data of inequities in Hollywood, and ways we can change the narrative across our productions. Voices previously held conversations highlighting representation for Asian and Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ+ communities, the Latiné community, and Indigenous peoples.
Additionally, Prime Video announced a new partnership with the Inevitable Foundation — an organization dedicated to funding and mentoring mid-career disabled screenwriters — to support one of their screenwriting fellowships. The fellowship will provide one disabled screenwriter with a $25,000 stipend, mentorship, and access to in-depth workshops to develop and sell their own content. Applications are now open and there is no cost to apply.
“I am so excited for this partnership between Amazon Studios and the Inevitable Foundation offering a writing fellowship to a disabled screenwriter,” Katims stated. “I was in part inspired to create ‘As We See It’ when I learned there is an 80% unemployment rate for college graduates with autism. This unacceptable statistic underscores a deep need to raise awareness and effect real change, and this fellowship is a step toward creating much-needed opportunities.”
Now streaming on Prime Video, “As We See It” follows Jack (Glassman), Harrison (Rutecki), and Violet (Pien), twenty-something roommates on the autism spectrum, as they strive to get and keep jobs, make friends, fall in love, and navigate a world that eludes them. With the help of their families (including Pang as Violet’s brother, Van, and Joe Mantegna as Jack’s father, Lou), their aide, Mandy (Bacon), and sometimes even each other, these roommates experience setbacks and celebrate triumphs on their own unique journeys towards independence and acceptance.