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 hosted an informative session at RespectAbility’s annual Summer Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. 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.
Vice President, Communications
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood