Filmmakers with Disabilities (FWD-Doc, pronounced “forward-doc”) strives to create a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable environment within the entertainment industry for disabled creators and allies. Building on recent successes, FWD-Doc is at a critical inflection point. The founders, along with the Interim Executive Director, contributing members and advisors have built a robust platform for community engagement and future impact. They have created a bold and ambitious plan as they spin off from their financial sponsor and become a standalone 501(c)3 organization. FWD-Doc now seeks its first full-time Executive Director (ED) to play an important role during their next chapter.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the new ED will ensure FWD-Doc is a high-functioning organization. They will have the opportunity to attract, hire, and retain staff members focused on programs, development and marketing, and operational support. The goal is for the ED to manage an annual operating budget of roughly $1.5m.

FWD-Doc seeks an entrepreneurial and operational focused leader, one who has significant experience and passion for filmmaking and disability rights. A community minded and collaborative spirit is important. The ED will represent FWD-Doc publicly and will continue to elevate the organization’s profile within the community. It is critical this person can foster an inclusive environment both internally and with the member community.


First convened in 2018 and formally founded in 2020, FWD-Doc is a global, intersectional community of disabled creators and allies working in media to build a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable entertainment industry. FWD-Doc cultivates and champions disabled media-makers, and elevates stories by, for, and about disabled people. Its roots are in independent documentary film, and their long-term vision extends to the broader entertainment and creative industries through many forms of storytelling.

What Drives FWD-Doc

D/deaf, disabled, and neurodiverse people often face discrimination every day. Society, fueled by ableist media narratives, frequently tells disabled people that they are less-than; that disabilities should be “overcome” or ignored, not an inherent part of humanity that is embraced. The entertainment industry perpetuates and reinforces this ableist narrative. On the rare occasion that disabled people see themselves on screen, they are very often reduced to objectified tropes of either tragedies or inspirations. Disabled people are portrayed either as heroic for just existing; as powerless victims in need of pity; or as “others”: villains, curiosities, or freaks. Film, television, and other media have enabled the negative treatment of disabled people for far too long. This must and will change.

As disabled writers, actors, creatives, and industry professionals, they know first-hand that media is a powerful tool to drive change. FWD-Doc’s rapidly growing membership celebrates and documents the entirety of disabled people’s existence and wants the world to do the same.

FWD-Doc is committed to using the talents, networks, and stories of the community to rewrite the narrative about disability and disabled people. FWD-Doc’s ultimate vision is to end ableism and create a more inclusive society for all.

FWD-Doc’s Work

As an organization, FWD-Doc is committed to responding to the evolving needs of their members and creating a culture that is inclusive, honest, respectful, collaborative, joyful, and fulfilling. Their efforts fall into four interwoven strategies:

  • Building community and creative, supportive spaces.
  • Cultivating and championing disabled media makers and leaders.
  • Elevating stories by, for, and about people with disabilities.
  • Educating, partnering, and advocating for more inclusive, equitable, and accessible practices within the entertainment industry, for disabled creatives and audiences.

FWD-Doc is grateful for the generous support of Nina and David Fialkow, Field of Vision/First Look Media Works, the Ford Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Perspective Fund, and Frances and Jen Rainin.


FWD-Doc, which launched as a fiscally-sponsored initiative of the Center for Independent Documentary in 2021, has always delivered outsized impact against its mission. With a volunteer board and part-time staff of one, FWD-Doc has grown a supportive community space of over 850 members, and, through programming, partnerships (for example, IDA’s Nonfiction Access Initiative, Video Consortium’s Pay Transparency Project), and publications (including FWD-Doc’s Accessibility Scorecard, Toolkit, and Engagement Pack). FWD-Doc has become a highly-regarded resource for knowledge throughout the entertainment industry.

Earlier this year, with financial support from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation and the Perspective Fund, FWD-Doc invested in a strategic planning process with consultants from Uncommon to chart the course of the organization over the next three-to-five years. The vision is ambitious. FWD-Doc is in the process of forming a 501(c)(3), raising an annual operating budget in the range of $1.5M, and bringing on a team of leaders, including the organization’s first-ever full-time Executive Director. This is a rare opportunity for a skilled, passionate leader to shepherd a powerful change-making organization into a new era.

Position Overview

FWD-Doc seeks an Executive Director (ED) who understands the power of film, media, and the arts to drive change, and is excited to lead the organization and their members in rewriting the narrative about disability and disabled people through a “community first” approach.

The ED will build on the groundwork laid by the founders and Interim Director to propel this early-stage, member-focused organization to new levels through their strong network mindset, managerial acumen, and operational expertise. They will evolve the organization’s strategy and plans to respond to new opportunities and challenges, leverage their ability to cultivate a deeply inclusive organizational culture to respond to member and industry needs, and achieve the organization’s goals.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for FWD-Doc’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission. They will bring deep knowledge of the field, and quickly immerse themselves in our core programs, operations, and plans.

Strong candidates will be both strategic thinkers and doers who are deeply passionate about and have proven experience working in inclusion, equity, and diversity, especially when it comes to disability rights and justice.

Inclusive Organizational Development, Leadership & Management

  • The Executive Director (ED) will collaborate with the board to determine staffing needs, assemble a core team, and refine the staffing model. They will lead staff recruitment, hiring, onboarding and retention.
  • The ED will champion and mentor the team, ensuring high-quality work while prioritizing their well-being. They will also cultivate a strong board of directors, engaging them in strategic planning for ongoing operations and new initiatives.
  • Supported by current leadership, the ED will leverage FWD-Doc’s resources and momentum while seeking new opportunities for growth and service.

Fundraising & External Partnerships

  • The ED will spearhead the organization’s fundraising initiatives, uniting founders, board of directors, dedicated membership, and talented staff in a collective commitment to cultivating enduring revenue sources. Their leadership will be pivotal in sustaining the organization’s growth and fostering its continuous evolution.
  • They will also develop and maintain strong relationships with donors, foundations, and governmental agencies and officials that invest in projects and initiatives spearheaded by FWD-Doc.

Fiscal & Operational Management

  • The ED will lead FWD-Doc in meeting its short and long-term financial goals, as well as its programmatic aims, ensuring it operates as a sustainable and financially sound organization.
  • This leader will collaborate closely with the board to make the most of chances to increase revenue from various sources and ensure that operations run smoothly and efficiently. They will also assess how to constantly improve and invest in systems and resources to support the growth of the organization.
  • They will manage against a set of key momentum indicators to gauge the organization’s progress towards programmatic, operational, and financial goals.

Network-Building, Member Engagement, and Communications

  • The ED will be focused on developing the full potential of FWD-Doc, playing a key role in elevating the organization’s profile, driving value to members, and rallying industry support.
  • They will oversee the work to deepen and refine all aspects of communications—from the organization’s public-facing brand, web presence, and overall PR, to member engagement opportunities, and industry-facing communications.
  • They will also represent FWD-Doc as a spokesperson in diverse public forums related to film and media, and in disability inclusion in film, media, and the arts.


The ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Expertise in disability rights, disability justice, and/or disability politics, and accessibility with a focus on film or other media.
  • Substantial senior management experience, including a track record of building inclusive systems, scaling organizations, and implementing growth strategies.
  • Experience working with a board of directors.
  • Past success in transitioning an organization from a founder-led startup to an independent 501(c)(3).
  • A community mindset that fosters collaboration and strengthens the network.
  • Strong organizational management abilities, including team development and budget management.
  • Proficiency in marketing, public relations, and fundraising across diverse stakeholders.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Action-oriented, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with diverse groups.
  • Passion, integrity, and a mission-driven, self-directed attitude.


More information about FWD-Doc may be found at: www.fwd-doc.org.

This search is being led by Tamar Datan and Emily McCarthy of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

If you need assistance and/or accommodation during the application or recruiting process, please email Emily McCarthy at: emccarthy@npag.com.

Full-time, with flexible hours; part-time/job shares also be considered. Candidates who are interested in part-time or job shares should state so in the cover letter. The salary range for this position is $100,000 – $135,000 annual base salary range, depending on experience, plus benefits. Salary for part-time will be prorated.

FWD-Doc complies with all federal, state, and local laws, and will also consider qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

About FWD-Doc

First convened in 2018 and formally founded in 2020, FWD-Doc is a global, intersectional community of disabled creators and allies working in media to build a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable entertainment industry. FWD-Doc cultivates and champions disabled media-makers, and elevates stories by, for, and about disabled people. Its roots are in independent documentary film, and their long-term vision extends to the broader entertainment and creative industries through many forms of storytelling.