On our June 15, 2020 NYWIFT Talks, director Ashley Eakin, recipient of the NYWIFT Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant for her short film Single, was in conversation with NYWIFT Board Member Rachel Watanabe-Batton.
Single is a relatable, anti-romantic comedy that delivers an entertaining and insightful examination of human connection that also challenges preconceived notions of life with a disability. A girl born with one arm gets set-up on a blind with a guy who has one hand…and she is pissed.
Learn more about the NYWIFT Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant.
Born in California and raised in Nebraska, Ashley Eakin is a writer-director with a physical disability. This year she was one of eight women selected for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and her project Single was selected for the SXSW 2020 Film Festival and received the Special Jury Recognition Award. Eakin was also the recipient of the New York Women in Film & Television Loreen Arbus Disability Awareness Grant. In 2019 Eakin worked for and shadowed Mark Pellington on the Quibi series Survive filmed in the Italian Alps starring Sophie Turner. Prior to this, Eakin was the assistant to film director Jon M. Chu. In 2017 she spent five months in Malaysia and Singapore working on his critically-acclaimed box-office hit Crazy Rich Asians. Eakin’s short documentary The Details, featuring Henry Golding and Awkwafina, was selected for the 2018 Hamilton Film Festival and her short film Blue premiered at the 2019 LA Shorts Fest. Eakin is represented by United Talent Agency and Artists First Management.
Rachel Watanabe-Batton has produced film, tv and pop culture for over 20 years in development and physical production. She founded Contradiction and Struggle to champion global stories that reframe history and culture and connect cinema, causes and capital. Projects include documentary Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl directed by NYWIFT Muse Julie Dash and narrative series 1850 about mixing and migration. Her work has been supported by IFP, NEH, NEA, BPM, Ford Foundation and Radcliffe.
A longtime advocate for empowering women, Rachel has spearheaded “Celebration of Women” festival parties, inter-guild readings, women’s mixers, diversity summits and creative impact partnerships. She programs and moderates in-depth industry conversations and screenings, and is represented by P.S. 314 Collective for media consulting. Mayor DeBlasio and former NYC MOME Commissioner Lopez honored her with a MADE IN NY Award as Producers Guild of America East Vice Chair, Diversity Chair (2008-2018) and Co-Chair of PGA Women’s Impact Network. Rachel is Chair of Manhattan Neighborhood Network and on the boards of Women Independent Producers and NYWIFT.
About NYWIFT Talks
NYWIFT Talks is a new weekly series to bring updated news and vital information about the impact of COVID-19 on the media and entertainment industry. Industry professionals will be in conversation discussing what you need to know about theatrical releases, digital advances, virtual tools, festival opportunities, production updates and more.