Christina is a dedicated wife, mother of three, and passionate advocate for people impacted by disabilities. She has coordinated events to fund research and won awards for successful fundraising endeavors, including those for “Team Bubba,” which honors her son with autism. She is the founder of Love, Hope, and Autism. She also works as a Family Support and Community Engagement Specialist at Achieving True Self, which supports families like hers. Christina is committed to spreading a message of heightened awareness and acceptance of differences, ultimately inspiring hope. For her efforts, she won the ACHIEVA Award Of Excellence for Family Support in 2018 and in 2019 was awarded a medal by the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. She is a two-time bestselling co-author, most recently including You Are Not Alone: Stories, Resources and Hope From Autism Moms, a book that is filled with inspiring stories, helpful resources, and hope for families to let them know that they are not alone in their journey. Join the panel discussion with Christina following the screening of The Special on Thursday, September 9, at 7pm.
Dr. Josie Badger
Dr. Josie Badger received her Bachelor’s degree from Geneva College in Disability Law and Advocacy, a Master’s from the University of Pittsburgh in Rehabilitation Counseling, and a Doctorate from Duquesne University in Healthcare Ethics. In 2014 Josie founded J Badger Consulting Inc., where she provides youth development and disability consulting services for organizations. She is the Director of the national RSA-Parent Training and Information Center technical assistance center (RAISE). She is the Campaign Manager of the United Way of Southwestern PA’s #IWantToWork Campaign, is a Field Organizer for the Family Care Act that supports paid family leave, and is the developer of TRAIL, a statewide advocacy and lobbying training program. She serves as a board member of the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, The Woodlands Foundation, the Mary Grace Hospice Foundation, PA Assistive Technology Foundation, and FISA. In 2012, Dr. Badger was crowned Ms. Wheelchair America. Join the panel discussion with Dr. Josie Badger following the screening of The Special on Thursday, September 9, at 7pm.
Nicholas Bruckman is the founder and CEO of People's Television, a creative studio that produces award-winning independent films, as well as digital and broadcast content for the world’s leading brands. He has produced and directed feature films, documentaries, and commercials in over 25 countries around the world. His documentary Not Going Quietly, executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass, premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and Special Jury prize. He has participated in numerous labs, fellowships, and markets worldwide, including the Rotterdam Producers Lab, the IFP Cannes Producers Fellowship, and the Film Independent Producers Lab. His work has been supported by foundations including the Sloan Foundation, Cinereach, Rooftop Films, and the IDA. Join the panel discussion with Nicholas, along with community organizer Rev. Sally Jo Snyder, after the screening of Not Going Quietly on September 12, at 7pm.
Sachi Cunningham is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Associate Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State University. She has worked on the staffs of PBS Frontline and the LA Times, and on feature film and commercial productions for a decade prior to practicing journalism. She has degrees from Brown University and UC Berkeley. Sachi is also known for her pioneering big wave water surf photography, listed by Surfline among the top surf filmmakers and Surfer Magazine among the world’s top water photographers. Sachi's most recent documentary, Crutch, chronicles the life and work of artist Bill Shannon, an internationally renowned artist, break-dancer and skate punk—who uses crutches. The film was a runner up for the Audience Award at DOC NYC 2020 and will air on Discovery+ in October 2021. Join the Q&A with Sachi after the screening of Crutch on Wednesday, September 8, at 7pm.
Chandler Evans is a writer/director whose award winning videos have garnered over 150 million views online. Evans wrote and directed for Disney Interactive and subsequently helped to launch Buzzfeed Video. Evans wrote Visions of Everest, a feature-length documentary about the only blind man to summit Mount Everest and has written for TV shows on CBS, Syfy and the CW. Evans has also directed commercial spots for companies such as Disney, Singapore Airlines, Hamilton Beach and KB Homes. When not working, you can catch him playing and documenting capoeira around the world. Join the Q&A with Chandler after the screening of Crutch on Wednesday, September 8, at 7pm.
Kaitlin Kerr is a disabled artist and advocate. Kaitlin lives with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, Interstitial Cystitis, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, and dysautonomia, among other disabilities. On her better days, Kaitlin focuses on running a Shakespearean theatre company with her partner. She is also a published poet, actor, and model. Kaitlin serves on several teams for organizations working toward more equitable healthcare, such as The United Way’s #IWantToWork Campaign and the Pennsylvania Health Action Network (PHAN). She also volunteers for PAAR (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape) as a sexual assault counselor and is a trained intimacy choreographer/director for theatre. Much of her artistic work grows out of the reality of living with a rare chronic pain disorder and finding meaning in art and connection with others. Join the panel discussion with Kaitlin following the screening of The Special on Thursday, September 9, at 7pm.
Kristin lives outside Pittsburgh with her husband Justin and two children Natalie and Zachary. She works as a Quality Analyst for Aetna. As a reasonable accommodation to a lack of consistent care at the workplace, Aetna approved her request to be a full-time work-at-home employee. Kristin also was a 2021 graduate of the TRAIL program. She is passionate about the importance of Family Paid Leave. She volunteers upwards of 20 hours per month serving as the Vice-President & Ambassador Coordinator of the Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania Organization, helping to equip the women with education, resources, and tools to be strong self-advocates. She is proud to have served as Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania in 2010. Join the panel discussion with Kristin following the screening of The Special on Thursday, September 9, at 7pm.
Afton Quast Saler
Afton Quast Saler grew up in Orange County, California, where she started her professional acting career at the tender age of 13. She has toured as an actor/singer internationally and working in regional theaters across the country. She’s now back in California and has recently graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, channeling her love of storytelling into filmmaking and writing. Since returning to L.A., Afton has directed the Encore Award-winning play, Cheek, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, directed a workshop of the original play, We’re All Mad Here, and was a recipient of the HFPA Center for Cinema & Television fellowship. This last year, Afton directed her thesis documentary at USC, Neurodivergent, allowing her to combine her passion for mental health awareness and art. She currently lives in Pasadena, CA with her husband, Jesse, their dog, Johanna, and the wild parrots living in the tree outside her window. Join Afton's Q&A following the screening of the Shorts Program on September 10, at 7:30pm.
Bill Shannon is an interdisciplinary artist who explores body-centric work through video installation, sculpture, linguistics, sociology, choreography, dance, and political activism. Bill’s contributions to dance over his 30-year freelance career include a specific movement vocabulary on "rocker-bottom" crutches that he evolved from his creative use of crutches as a child to take weight off his hips. Bill's 2018 group work in dance, wearable video and video installation art "Touch Update" was produced and toured courtesy of the New England Foundation of the Arts, National Dance Project Production Award, and sponsorship by the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, among others. Bill is also a Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography, a Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow in Performance Art, a United States Artist Award in Dance and has worked as a choreographer and dancer for Cirque Du Soleil. Bill currently resides in Pittsburgh with his three children and extended family nearby, working intermittently as a freelance artist. Join the Q&A with Bill after the screening of Crutch on Wednesday, September 8, at 7pm.