UIC program focuses on disability studies

UIC program focuses on disability studies
Karen Meyer
More: Bio, News Team

April 14, 2013 (WLS) — Pop culture has a lot of influence on the way people think, including stereotypes about people with disabilities.

Experts in the field of disability studies have identified elements that contribute to stereotyping of people with disabilities.

“Where do people get this assumption that’s it’s so beautiful? That you’re out in public, that you got up this morning. It’s so amazing they get this from the popular culture narrative,” said Alyson Patsavas, a PhD student in disability studies at University of Illinois at Chicago.

“You have people that don’t experience disabilities, that don’t have disabilities, writing stories based on what they imagine life with a disability would be like,” she said.

Alyson also says often times, people with disabilities are not involved in the storytelling or acting process when it comes situations in television and film.

“You get repeated narratives that often bear little resemblance to how disabled people experience their lives,” Alyson said.

“One thing that we’ve heard from our friends in Hollywood who have disabilities who are trying to break in is that there’s a huge stigma; once you’ve identified as an actor with a disability, you get put into certain casting pools,” said Carrie Sandahl, a professor and director of the graduate program.

“The Screen Actors guild commissioned a study that shows only one-half of 1 percent of words spoken on television are by people with disabilities,” Sandahl said.

However, the professor feels people with disabilities are starting to take control.

“When we see representations in the media that we feel represent more closely out lived experience&or are interesting to us, we let the media know,” said Sandahl.

“You have a lot of blog creativity. You have websites. You see people with disabilities kind of taking the media that they can control, and there’s really a ton of stuff out there that is, I think, showing a readiness for us to enter more forcefully pop culture,” said Sandahl.

To learn more about the disability studies program at UIC go to http://www.uic.edu/gcat/AHDIS.shtml.

(Copyright ©2013 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Dinklage finds new ‘Home’

from Variety, International News section:
Dinklage finds new ‘Home’
He’ll star in Paki Smith’s helming debut, being sold by Content
By Robert Mitchell

LONDON — “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage is set to star in “A Long Way Home,” with Content Film selling worldwide rights at the EFM in Berlin.

The film, described as an “epic adventure about friendship, courage, magic, adventure and the lengths one boy will go to reunite his family” is the feature helming debut of set decorator and production designer Paki Smith. He recently worked on Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” and Andrew Stanton’s “John Carter.”

Set to lense in April, “A Long Way Home” is produced by Justin Moore-Levy, David Collins and Charlie Mason, with Paul Michaels and “Star Wars” saga producer Rick McCallum as executive producers. It is scripted by Alex Rose.

‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage joins ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

from Entertainment Weekly:
‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage joins ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’
by Anthony Breznican

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage is joining the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Director Bryan Singer tweeted the news tonight, although he did not specify which character the actor would play.

While we’re of the mind that the charismatic 43-year-old could play any badass he put his mind to, there are a few Marvel mutant characters that would match his diminutive height.
One would be Puck, a strapping adventurer who found his physical stature shrunk by mystical forces — making him smaller, but no less of a forceful fighter.

But it’s unclear whether the character, which was part of Marvel’s Alpha Flight series (which started in 1983) would be covered by 20th Century Fox’s license to make movies based on the X-Men comics. Puck is technically an “altered human,” and he did have various adventures alongside the X-Men team, so it very well could count. We won’t know for sure until Singer reveals more.

Marvel sold film rights to Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men, among others, before Marvel Studios began making its own movies, such as the interlocked Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Avengers titles, so it’s always a question of which character can be used by whom. For instance, Marvel Studios can’t use any of its comic book mutant characters in its own films, since those all fall under the X-Men deal with Fox.

The reverse goes for MODOK, another smallish Marvel character whose size belies his chaos-causing prowess as a villain. He would fall under the Marvel Studios/Disney banner, and be unavailable to the Fox X-Men series.

But such speculation sells Dinklage, well, short.

This star of The Station Agent and Game of Thrones has personality that transcends his height, and could being energy and charm to just about character — good, evil, or in-between — that Singer hands him.
Days of Future Past, which is set to debut in July 2014, will also feature Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart as older versions of Magneto and Prof. X, while X-Men: First Class prequel stars Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy will reprise the younger versions of those characters, with Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and, Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman also set to return.