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Web series to be filmed in region, to focus on public perception of disabilities

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A new web series will not only feature area actors and crew members, but also aims to focus on what people with disabilities can accomplish.


The new series “(up)Staged” is a new comedy series currently in pre-production with principal photography set to begin in June. The series will be filmed in Windsor with some locations in Essex County. Social media and fundraising co-ordinator Rebecca S. Mickle, an Amherstburg resident said a Kickstarter campaign begins May 10 and runs for 30 days. 


Mickle stated “(up)Staged” will employ over 50 local artists as both cast and crew.


“While (up)Staged is a comedy series it focuses on real issues,” she said. “Our showrunner, Michael K. Potter, a blind double amputee, intends to change the public's perception of the disability community and what disabled people are capable of doing with their lives.“


The series comes from Windsor-based theatre company Post Productions with the company stating “(up)Staged” being its most ambitious project to-date.


“Post Productions was founded in 2016 with the intent of focusing on theatre first,” says Potter, “but we kept the word ‘theatre’ out of the name intentionally, because we’d always planned on expanding into other forms of art when the time was ready. In 2018 we produced and distributed music for the first time, which we did again in 2023 to raise money for Abode Respite Services. Now we’re branching out into what is essentially television production with a different cause in mind: making people aware that art is work and artists need to be paid for doing it.”


Potter is also executive producer.


Mickle said they are hoping not to totally rely on the Kickstarter campaign, as they are also encouraging people to sponsor with the company also pursuing grants.


Potter explains: “We need to recognize the potential of the arts in Windsor-Essex, which is disproportionately immense for a region of this size. And to do that, we need to start thinking of and treating the arts in our region as an industry worth investing in and supporting with adequate infrastructure.


Windsor has the potential to become a thriving economic hub for artists and a destination for arts tourism. Our long-term plan is to collaborate with organizations, businesses, and leaders of all sorts in the area to create that future, a future that will convince young artists that they don’t need to leave Windsor-Essex to build careers while simultaneously drawing in artists from elsewhere to live and work here. The economic potential, return on investment, of adequately supporting the arts has been widely studied and recognized across the globe but it begins, it must begin, with respecting artists and the work that they do.”


(up)Staged was created and written by Potter and Post Productions artistic director Fay Lynn with Joey Ouellette, artistic director of the Purple Theatre Company, in the summer of 2021.


“It’s going to be exciting. It’s a very large project,” said Mickle, who will also have a role in front of the camera as well.


Potter plays a fictionalized version of himself in “(up)Staged”: a blind double-amputee who happens to manage a theatre company, direct and produce plays, and act.


“People with disabilities are generally invisible in all forms of art and entertainment,” Potter says. “They’re absent from the stories presented to the public unless a writer needs a cheap way to create an object of pity or inspiration. But disabled people are human subjects, not objects of pity. Pity doesn’t help anyone and it ignores what disabled people are capable of doing.


The opposite, using disabled people for inspiration, is just as dehumanizing and offensive. It also ignores the fact that disabled people are human beings who are just trying to get through their day and live their lives without being burdened by the responsibility of inspiring people by being able to do basic things like, say, making cookies.”


Mickle said filming should run in both June and July, reshoots in August and be released in the fall.


“There’s a lot of amazing people who work in creating the project,” she said. “Everyone involved is from Windsor-Essex County. They wanted to keep it local and show how much talent Windsor-Essex has.”


People can sign up now to follow the campaign so they’ll be alerted when it goes live by heading to this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mkpotter/upstaged.


The public will be able to purchase the web series for $25 and the company hopes to find a streaming service willing to carry it.


Those interested in learning more about (up)Staged are also encouraged to click on the project’s link tree, which will take them to all of its social media accounts: https://linktr.ee/upstagedseries. Detailed information about the project, including bios of all cast and crew members, can be found at the project’s website: www.upstagedseries.com. The first promotional video for the (up)Staged Kickstarter campaign can be found here: https://youtu.be/_qQqiMa5y60.

Web series to be filmed in region, to focus on public perception of disabilities

By Ron Giofu

 

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