Single, directed and written by Ashley Eakin and presented by AFI Directing Workshop for Women, recently won SXSW 2020 Narrative Shorts Special Jury Recognition. The short is a brazen, anti-romantic comedy that delivers an entertaining and insightful examination into dating with a disability.
Born in California and raised in Nebraska, Ashley Eakin is a filmmaker with a physical disability and a participant in the 2020 AFI Directing Workshop for Women. Previously, Eakin was the assistant to Jon M. Chu that included spending five months in Malaysia and Singapore working on his film Crazy Rich Asians. In 2019, Eakin shadowed Mark Pellington on the Quibi series Survive starring Sophie Turner. Eakin’s short documentary The Details, featuring Henry Golding and Awkwafina, was selected for the 2018 Hamilton Film Festival. Her short film Blue premiered at the 2019 LA Shorts Fest and she just completed her AFI DWW project Single, which features two leads with disabilities. In 2017 Eakin was featured in a SoulPancake video talking about her rare bone condition. The video went viral reaching over 45 million views. Her medical journey has immensely influenced her passion to pursue stories that advocate proper representation for people with physical disabilities.
Her disability and journey to understanding where she fits in the disability community. The short tackles internalized ableism head-on and is beautiful, and at times uncomfortable. Single’s ability to point out unconscious bias in its short run time is downright impressive. According to Eakin, “Changing the narrative about disability starts with visibility and authentic storytellers being the voice that tells them, and I am proud to be on this journey.”
In the interview, Eakin talks about the importance of representation both in front and behind the camera. The reason the short feels so authentic is because it is an example of disabled people being allowed to tell their own stories.