Lives Worth Living

Situational Analysis

Every once in a great while, a documentary accurately frames the authentic experiences of the disability community.  Gifted filmmakers Eric Neudel and Alison Gilkey spent six years researching and interviewing the nations’ great disability leaders who joined forces to create what is known as the Disability Rights Movement, and led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – the world’s first disability civil rights law.  That documentary is Lives Worth Living, broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens.  Major funding was provided by Independent Television Service (ITVS). Now that this critically-acclaimed documentary successfully captured and chronicled four decades of disability rights leaders and game changing demonstrations, how does it gain popularity with cross-over appeal to diverse audiences with – and without – disabilities?

DVD wrap of documentary Lives Worth Living, with endorsements and photos of disability rights demonstrations.

DVD wrap of documentary Lives Worth Living.

EIN SOF Insights

Lives Worth Living is an awesome reflection of the historic disability rights movement, with potential as a powerful and unprecedented disability-awareness teaching tool in the classroom and the boardroom.  Stories illuminat and transcend disability through a lens of civil rights as it has not been done before. In collaboration with Neudel and Gilkey, EIN SOF created a disability awareness strategic marketing campaign, targeting key television influencers – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


The Television Academy screening and panel discussion was sponsored by the Academy’s Diversity Committee and ITVS, and produced by EIN SOF. It was attended by entertainment, disability, diversity, university and community leaders to celebrate disability-inclusive civil rights and is archived on the Academy’s website:

Television Academy panelists included:

  • Eric Neudel Director, and Alison Gilkey Producer, Lives Worth Living
  • Lois Vossen Independent Lens Senior Producer & Vice President ITVS
  • James LeBrecht Sound Designer and Mixer, Lives Worth Living
  • Lawrence Carter-Long Founder and Curator of disTHIS! Film Series
  • Moderated by Robert David Hall of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Lives Worth Living received critical acclaim by disability and diversity leaders, glowing reviews policy makers, and raised national dialogue on disability, community-based independent living and civil rights.

Neudel and Gilkey just debuted The Great Fight for Disability Rights in Boston.  The Great Fight targets middle and high schools and includes two 15-minute videos (based on Lives Worth Living) and an accessible curriculum.  This multi media DVD is designed for educators, and funded by Mass Rehab. The DVD is completely accessible with talking menus, interactive spoken disability history timeline, Braille stickers with the film’s title and Helen Keller quote, descriptive audio track and closed captions. This is a marketing breakthrough – the DVD packaging is accessible to those who are Braille users, and the contents are accessible to the deaf and blind communities. Check back for more details.


Lives Worth Living panel discussion at Television Academy.

Campaign Highlights

As a member of the Television Academy’s Diversity Committee, Squire designed and produced the Academy screening/panel; Gilkey was featured in What’s Your Connection? disability awareness campaign. Lives Worth Living was also screened at the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, the United Nations and around the world at film festivals in Moscow, Laos and South Korea.

For more information about how Lives Worth Living and The Great Fight for Disability Rights can fortify your disability awareness efforts, click here.