AXS Lab is a new nonprofit that’s building a network of organizations and people to supercharge the movement for inclusion of people with disabilities. We aim to engage audiences to playfully explore the disability experience using new media, films, and the power of story. By exploring alternate realities of perception and experience, we believe the world becomes a more compassionate, inclusive and enriching place.
Jason DaSilva, Founder and Filmmaker
Jason is a filmmaker and spokesperson for the disability community, and founder of the non-profit AXS Lab. His first film, Olivia’s Puzzle (http://www.oliviaspuzzle.com ) (2003, 12 min.), screened at more than 30 festivals including Sundance, received an Oscar qualification and was broadcast on HBO and PBS/POV in 2004. His second film, A Song for Daniel (2005, 10 min.) screened on PBS/POV in 2005. His short film, Twins Of Mankala (2006, 10 min.) aired on PBS/POV in 2006. At the age of 25, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Redefining himself and his career, he started working on his ITVS-funded documentary When I Walk (http://www.wheniwalk.com) based on his experiences of having multiple sclerosis. He began this with a short entitled First Steps (2009, 10 min.), looking at his early thoughts and experiences with the diagnosis. First Steps was shown in the Tribeca Film Festival 2009. Jason has an MFA in Media from Emily Carr University.
Alice Cook, Executive Director
Alice is Executive Director of AXS Lab, and responsible for managing budgets, teams, and timelines. She has dedicated herself to advocacy for disability, having a mother and husband with multiple sclerosis. She holds a MS and BS in environmental engineering from Stanford University, and spent much of her career working in sustainability and real estate.
Kevin Bluer, Lead Technologist
Kevin is Lead Technologist for AXS Map and brings with him 10 years of experience in mobile development. Since his undergraduate degree—in Applied Computer Science—career has spanned the industrial spectrum, working with companies such as Microsoft, JP Morgan Chase, MTV Networks, Deloitte, government agencies, and a number of startups. Kevin also holds a masters degree in Technology Management from Columbia University. He is a keen runner, photographer, traveler, and fundraiser.
Simeon Hutner, Film Editor
Simeon is a film editor, director and producer currently editing the ITVS-funded documentary feature When I Walk, for Jason DaSilva and AXS Lab. He has a wide range of prestigious credits to his name having edited and/or produced films in Sundance, on HBO, BBC, Bravo, and A&E. He is also co-directing and editing the documentary feature Harlem Street Singer about the blues and gospel musician the Reverend Gary Davis. Selected credits include: editor on the documentary feature Melting Planet, which premiered at Sundance (2007), and Chicks in White Satin, Academy Award Nominated (1994). Simeon received the MacDowell Fellowships in 2001 and 2003, and fellowships from Yaddo in 2002 and 2004. He has an MFA in Film Production from the University of Southern California, an MBA from New York University and a BA from Middlebury College.
Stephen Duffy, JournalistStephen is a writer/marketer specializing on the web. He is also a committed blogger and social activist. He was UK Senior Content Editor for European digital media company—Populis—and subsequent SEM-SEO specialist from 2008-2011. Upon leaving Populis in 2011, Stephen moved to New York City, and took up his role with AXS Lab. He has also returned to journalism, writing articles for a number of titles, including the New York Observer. He holds an Honors BA in Media and Communication from Dundalk Institute of Technology, and a Masters in Journalism and Communication from Griffith College Dublin (both Ireland).
Jason Lemon, Social Media Intern
Jason manages social media for AXS Lab, and is a personal assistant for founder, Jason DaSilva. He is a self-taught tech guy with a panache for fixing broken cameras. On top of that, he is a trained as a home care aide working with people with disabilities.
Elizabeth Daniels, Writing Intern
Elizabeth writes content, is a production assistant and provides administrative support. Originally from Baton Rouge, La., Elizabeth attended NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in the “Communication of Liberation”, which examined the connection between human rights, religious diversity, and film/tv. Her mother uses a wheelchair.
Board of Advisors
Anselm Hook, Software Developer, Xerox Parc
Anselm Hook is a software developer and entrepreneur currently researching commercialization of Augmented Reality applications at Xerox Parc in Palo Alto. He has been the CTO of several web 2.0 ventures including Meedan, Makerlab and Platial. In the past Anselm was a commercial video games developer including such titles as Lord of the Rings for EA and Dragon’s Lair for Don Bluth Studios and co-founded Virtual Games Inc.
Eric Doversberger, Data Visualization Specialist, Google Inc.
Eric Doversberger is a data visualization specialist working at Google since early 2007. Before moving to Silicon Valley, Eric attended the University of Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon University during which he was also a NSF funded researcher in the Mathematics Department at Brown University building 3D geometric models in assisting student learning. Eric has additionally spoken at the Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, and on NPR involving the intersection of art and technology, and actively provides technical consulting for non-profit initiatives.
Anne Fletcher, Architect, Zyscovich Architects
Anne Fletcher is Principal at Zyscovich Architects in New York City, a nationally renowned architecture and urban planning firm and is recognized for its significant urban, public and private projects. Anne manages design and client services. Prior to Zyscovich, Anne worked on a range of local and international projects for firms in New York City. As an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), she is Co-chair of the New York District Council’s Sustainable Building Council, sits on the Management Committee and Advisory Board. She serves on the Board of Women in Housing and Finance – New York (WHF) and is a member of WX (Women Executives in Real Estate NY), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Urban Green (USGBC NY). Anne was honored as one of the industry’s rising stars in Building Design + Construction’s fourth annual “40 Under 40” selection in 2010. Anne attended Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a bachelor’s degree with a major in Architecture, and earned her Master of Architecture from University of Virginia.
Steven Lavender, Physiotherapist, KIM
Steven Lavender is a staff physiotherapist at KIMA Physiotherapy and Wellness Center. Prior to this position, Steven was a Clinical Specialist at the NYU Langone Medical Center and Hospital for Joint Diseases. During this time he was responsible for evaluating and treating the largest number of multiple sclerosis out-patients for the New York University Medical Center. Steven received his degree in physiotherapy from the prestigious University of Queensland, Australia. AXS Lab founder, Jason DaSilva, was one of Steven’s first patients in New York City. For two years Steven and Jason worked together to improve Jason’s quality of life. Steven also appears in Jason’s film, When I Walk.
Wendy Levy, Senior Strategist, Tomorrow Partners
Wendy Levy is a Senior Strategist at Tomorrow Partners, an innovative creative agency in Berkeley, California with a focus on human-centered design, sustainability and social change. From 2004 – 2011, Wendy was Creative Director at BAVC where she created and directed the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies, The Impact Dashboard project, The Mediamaker Fellows Program, and The Stream, a multiplatform public media series focused on interactive documentary, emerging technology and human rights. Wendy serves as an Advisor to the Skoll/Sundance Stories of Change Program, WeOwnTV, Witness, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Open Society Foundation’s Documentary Photography Project. Wendy has a BA in English and Ethnopoetics from Oberlin College, and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She has taught Media Studies, Film Theory, and Film and Video Production at numerous colleges and universities in the Bay Area.
Yael Melamede, Film Producer, Salty Features
Yael Melamede is a co-founder of SALTY Features – an independent production company based in NYC whose goal is to create media that is vital and enhances the world. Yael’s producer credits include: the documentary film Inocente, directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine; Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, written and directed by John Krasinski, based on the book by David Foster Wallace; The Inner Life of Martin Frost, written and directed by Paul Auster; and My Architect, directed by Nathaniel Kahn and nominated for an Academy Award in 2004. Yael was trained and worked as an architect before becoming a filmmaker.
Julia Pinover, Disability Rights Attorney, DRA Legal
Julia Pinover is a staff attorney at Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit civil rights law center in Berkeley California. She joined DRA in 2007 as the David Boies/ LD Access Fellow, and is now the staff attorney in charge of starting Disability Rights Advocates’ New York office. Julia litigates class action and impact litigation concerning all types of access barriers faced by New Yorkers with disabilities. Julia serves on the New York City Bar Committee focused on legal issues affecting persons with disabilities. Julia received her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2002. In 2007 she earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. In 2010 she earned a Masters in Law (LL.M.) from NYU Law.
Angela Tam, Brand & Business Consultant
Angela is a brand manager currently working in a Fortune 500 consumer goods company. She has launched and managed over 15 products and campaigns including award winning ones. Angela has worked in both marketing and financial management roles across an array of industrial sectors including food manufacturing, healthcare, and finance. Earlier experience included event marketing for a real-estate group and a domestic government environmental agency in Hong Kong. Her unique multi-disciplinary background brings with her rounded commercial acumen and advice to AXS Labs branding and business plan. Angela is a Chartered Global Management Accountant and holds MEng, MA and BA of Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She is a keen ballet dancer and traveler.
Board of Directors
Ghazal Badiozamani, Board Member
Ghazal Badiozamani is currently working with a start-up that is commercializing a technology that would produce a carbon negative replacement for concrete. Prior to that, she helped launch a software company that helps large corporations keep track of their energy reduction initiatives (Hara Software) and worked with the California State Pension Fund (CalPERS) to assess their $1.2B clean-tech investment strategy. She also spent eight years at the United Nations mediating global environmental negotiations and implementing projects in sustainable energy, transport and forest management in Latin America, Asia and Africa. She holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Stanford, a masters from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Karin Hayes, Board Member
Karin Hayes’ most recent documentary film, We’re Not Broke, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Karen’s first film was the duPont-Columbia University Award-winning documentary, The Kidnapping of IngridBetancourt (HBO/Cinemax 2004). Karen also co-produced and directed Held Hostage in Colombia, about three American contractors captured by FARC guerrillas in Colombia (The History Channel/Sundance Channel and excerpted on 60 Minutes II), and the 2008 Target® Filmmaker Award-winning film Pip & Zastrow: An American Friendship. Karen has also worked on productions for PBS, National Geographic Channel, the Travel Channel, the Discovery Channel, and with The Cronkite Ward Company for TLC/Discovery Networks. In addition to feature documentary projects, Hayes has produced videos for the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, and worked for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. In 2010 Karen released her first book, Hostage Nation: Colombia’s guerilla army and the failed war on drugs (co-authored with Victoria Bruce) was published by Knopf. Karen graduated from UCLA with a degree in World Arts & Cultures.
Danielle Kayembe, Board Member
Danielle Kayembe has over nine years of experience in consulting and finance. As part of Banc of America Securities Leveraged Finance and High Yield team, Danielle worked on over $3 billion of transactions for PE firms and companies in various industries, including industrial, hotel and gaming, paper, plastics, aerospace and defense and consumer retail. Most recently she worked for HSBC’s General Industrials group, where her focus was developing leveraged acquisition finance opportunities for multi-national companies in their portfolio, with a focus on automotive, transport and infrastructure. Danielle holds an MA from Stanford University in Organizations and a BA in Political Science from Stanford University.