Testimonials

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Thank you for your input toward a more inclusive Oscars experience. We value your commitment to accessibility and continuing these important conversations.

 

We plan to recognize you and Woman of Her Word in the acknowledgements included in the official Oscars printed show program.

 

We appreciate your interest in the Academy and our shared prioritization of representation, inclusion, and equity.

 

2021

Christine Simmons

Chief Operating Officer

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 

We were fortunate to have Michele present to a group of video creators at KQED, the PBS/NPR affiliate in the San Francisco-Bay Area, about her audio describing work and best practices. Her presentation and conversations leading up to it inspired and furthered our commitment and work to make KQED digital offerings more accessible.

 

Thank you Michele!

Kelly Whalen
Senior Digital Video Producer, KQED Arts

KQED

On behalf of the SOVAS Board of Directors, it is my honor to acknowledge Michele Spitz for her expert consultation in support of our efforts to shine a light on the critical importance of Audio Description (AD) to the quality of life for blind and low-vision people. With Michele's help, we were able to successfully include Audio Description as new categories in our global Voice Arts® Awards competition. In addition, as part of our annual That's Voiceover!™ Career Expo, Michele curated a stellar educational panel, comprised of some of the world's top audio description experts, which we presented to an international audience of voice actors and media professionals. We are grateful for Michele's volunteerism and dedication.

 

Rudy Gaskins
President & CEO
Society Of Voice Arts And Sciences

Michele Spitz came to our NYU Undergraduate Film and Television faculty meeting

to demystify audio description and give our film faculty a chance to absorb the importance of making all media accessible. In a very brief time, she showed a reel

that gave examples of what audio description sounds like and how it can enhance

the enjoyment of films and television programs. Her presentation was efficient, professional, and welcoming. Everyone felt able to ask questions and she offered

to answer questions by email.

Michele then came to my fundamental documentary production class via zoom and did a presentation for my students. Michele built an awareness of what it means to create accessible media, tips on the ways a director can be involved in making a

film more audio description ready and the state of the art of audio description. The students’ eyes were opened to what they will be doing to make their storytelling more inclusive. Her level of knowledge is broad and specific. Hopefully, she will be able to make time again to speak to my classes.

 

Alice Elliott

Area Head of Documentary Studies

Kanbar Institute of Film, Television and Media

Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Michele Spitz is an invaluable resource for everything related to audio description.
In addition to providing her technical skills and voice, her advocacy has led to

important conversations about the importance of media accessibility throughout

the entire entertainment industry. I have had the opportunity to work with Michele

on a variety of projects for RespectAbility.

 

Most recently, she co-produced and moderated a RespectAbility panel during the

2021 Sundance Film Festival on audio description, which has had more than 1600 views. Michele also spoke during a panel jointly presented by RespectAbility and

Film Fatales and hosted by Film Independent in March 2020. These panels have

led to filmmakers having a better understanding of audio description, making them

more likely to ensure its inclusion.

 

Michele greatly understands the importance of building up the talent pipeline and working with young filmmakers to help them understand and incorporate media accessibility in the work early on. Since 2019, she has annually hosted informative

Audio Description Sessions for RespectAbility’s Summer Labs for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities in Los Angeles, additionally taking place in NYC in

2022. She also has worked with some Lab alumni on their films, helping to ensure accurate captioning and audio description – and ensuring these assets follow the

films to festivals and distribution. Michele is a trusted partner who is making a huge difference in the industry.

Lauren Appelbaum
Vice President, Communications

RespectAbility

I teach a course on disability representation in media at New Jersey’s Montclair State University and Michele was at the top of my list of guest speakers. She gave an enthusiastic presentation on the need for greater accessibility to my students, many of whom were unfamiliar with audio description or the multitude of career paths in this field. Michele’s presentation sparked a lively discussion in class and she answered their questions with the kind of insight that only a veteran of the industry could offer. And as a user of audio description myself, I’m incredibly thankful for Michele’s passion and advocacy for media inclusion.

 

Jason Strother
Educator/Journalist
Montclair State University

DRA is grateful to Michele for lending her unique audio description expertise and voiceover talents to create compelling fundraising videos for our 2018, 2019 and 2020 galas. Michele worked closely with DRA and our film-making team to ensure

a truly accessible, informative, and moving end product. In 2019, she presented

the video onstage and did an excellent job of succinctly preparing our audience

of supporters for their video experience. Michele's talent and passion for disability rights work runs deep and we're glad to have her on our team.

Kate Hamilton
Managing Director

Disability Rights Advocates

Michele Spitz served as the VOG announcer for the 2018 and 2019 New York Women in Film & Television’s Muse Awards, a prestigious celebrity awards event with an audience of 1200 leaders in the entertainment industry. Her delivery was perfect—well annunciated and beautifully animated, and she had impeccable timing. A consummate professional, she is a pleasure to work with. I enthusiastically recommend her.

Terry Lawler
Executive Director

New York Women in Film and Television

SIGNmation is a Producer of Open Captioned & ASL Interpreted Film Industry

Panel Discussions and proudly collaborates with Michele Spitz, Woman of Her

Word as a Panelist, Host and Co-Presenter. Together we produce and create Inclusion & Accessibility Panels tailored to educate, facilitate and foster inclusion

of Deaf & Blind Audiences through Audio Description, Captioned & ASL Interpreted & Real Time Captioning for the Theatrical & Independent Film Industry. We have presented panels with ReelAbilities NYC, New York Women & Film & Television,

55th New York Film Festival, and Women in Film Los Angeles presented with

SAG-AFTRA PWD and the Casting Society of America.

Michele’s passion extends personally to filmmakers through Audio Description & Caption grants, scholarships and donation of her own voice as an Audio Describer for their film projects through Woman of Her Word. My greatest joy is repeatedly witnessing Deaf & Blind Filmmakers engaging in discussion with the industry audiences and peers on Audio Description following Michele’s presentations. Through ASL Interpreters on site, both communities were able to connect together. To quote a 2017 55th New York Film Festival subscriber at our panel, Make Film Accessible for All: “In 55 Years of the New York Film Festival this is the first panel on film accessibility ever presented and I vote it the Best of Fest.” Our mission is ongoing. Her passion, knowledge and expertise and networks are vast. Woman

of Her Word unites people, bridges communities and produces social change.

Jo-Ann Dean

CEO SIGNmation

As the GM of Berkeley's only art house movie theatre, I'm used to having first time filmmakers and actors grace our theatre for special events where the audience gets to meet-and-greet these guest speakers and exchange in lively Q & A's following the screening of their films. It's a rare thing though to have a guest that is related to the art form in a way as was Michele Spitz of Woman of Her Word when she presented an engaging educational walk-through about the topic of accessibility for our movie patrons with the need for audio description. The fact there is still a large population of movie-goers who could benefit from both Closed Captioning devices as well as Descriptive Video headsets and don't know that these tools even exist, is much needed in the world of film. That fact coupled with the challenges that all movie theatres face as more and more people are consuming film on various portable devices, people with any level of hearing loss and/or blindness need to be made aware that they, too can participate in new films coming out that have been encrypted for their enjoyment.

Michele offered a very warm and direct link to our audience when we opened

the Pavarotti film at our theatre, and her presence was felt long after her guest appearance, as we still (8 weeks later!) are showing the film and I have spoken directly to some regular patrons who are now asking for information about the

films we have that contain Descriptive Video or Closed Captioning. Michele's

talks are extending a very accessible and much needed lifeline to a population

that is hungry for film content that they can take in and share with others.

Joey Brite
General Manager
Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood

Testimonials