'The Best Summer Ever' a musical providing the beginning of unapologetic Disability Representation in Hollywood. Produced by Will Halby, this musical is the first to cast people with disabilities and the first SAG-registered film in which the majority of the cast and crew are disabled.

For a long time people with disabilites have often been portrayed by those who do not have disabilities themselves. 'The Best Summer Ever' challenges this cultural norm. An example of this comes in the way of characters being in wheelchairs, portrayed by an actress who herself is in a wheelchair. Not only do they portray disabilities accurately, but they do not portray them as the problem. They are presented as rather a matter of fact, part of life. 

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Not only is Halby a known producer, he is the co-founder of Zeno. Zeno is a nonprofit based in Canada that creates opportunities for people with disabilities. Zeno has been creating content for 12 years with 'The Best Summer Ever' being their first feature-length production. Halby wants to begin asking the questions that matter. He states:

"Why is it not normal, not just on film, but in the world, in general, to see this level of integration in our day to day lives?"

Another producer of the film, Andrew Pilkington, is a man with Cerebral Palsy. His main goal is to one day run his own television set where disabled and non-disabled members of society can share a happy and supportive environment. He is a firm believer in choice and control stating:

"Just because you have a disabled character does not mean that the show has to be centered around their disability."

A worrying figure comes out of the entertainment industry, with 2.3 percent of speaking characters in films across the top 100 movies were depicted as characters with a disability. The makers of this film hope that their work can serve as a guide for future products to begin creating and encouraging inclusivity in their work environment, both on and off camera. 


Content adapted from: Variety- 'The Best Summer Ever'


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