By making films, new media, and building technology, AXS Lab broadens the definition of accessibility, creating tools to raise awareness and advocate for real inclusion globally.
Over the past ten years, we’ve created award winning films and tools to invigorate and expand the conversation on accessibility around the globe.
We imagine a fully-inclusive world that is 100% accessible. Join the movement today!
2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of AXS Lab, an organization dedicated to using media and technology to advocate for people with disabilities.
Started in 2009 as a way for AXS Lab founder Jason DaSilva to document the impact of being diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, AXS Lab’s first project, When I Walk went on to achieve critical success in film festivals worldwide, and garnered an Emmy award for Best International Documentary.
In 2009 DaSilva realized there was a need to shift AXS Lab’s focus beyond filmmaking. The goal of helping people with focus on inclusion and accessibility gain greater independence came out of personal experience.
- Jason DaSilva
“I know what it is like to lose your independence, and the social isolation people face when dealing with a accessibility. I started AXS Lab with the responsibility to carry the torch for a movement for disability-rights, and AXS Lab will continue to tell these stories that were once on the fringes of society”
In 2012, AXS Lab conducted its first Mapathon, community events facilitated through the AXS Map mobile application where participants form teams, competing to rate and review the accessibility of various locations in their communities.
To date, there have been over 280 AXS Mapathons conducted worldwide, and is now considered the largest database for accessibility data in the US.
Since 2013, AXS Lab providing essential data through AXS Map to inform the UN’s flagship report on Disability and Development.
AXS Lab’s work today continues to focus on how to use media and technology to advocate for people with disabilities world wide.
AXS Lab is a contributor to the New York Times and continues to produce films that speak to the underlying disability crisis in America, and the “of Accessibility.”
Director / Producer
Jason DaSilva was born in Dayton, Ohio 1978. At this time, Dayton was statistically the most average city in America, & the name Jason was also the most commonly used boys’ name of 1978 in North America. From there, he grew up in South Florida and Vancouver Canada. He has directed four short films (Olivia’s Puzzle, A Song For Daniel, Twins of Mankala, First Steps) and two feature length-documentary films (Lest We Forget and When I Walk), gathering many awards along the way. Three of his films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO, and CBC. DaSilva’s 2013 film, When I Walk, won a 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming. His most recent film, When We Walk, premiered in 2019 and he is currently excited to finish the trilogy with his upcoming feature film When They Walk. His other mainwork is as the founder and director of AXS Map, a website and accessibility database to find disability friendly places around the world.
Leigh DaSilva began his independent filmmaking career producing alongside award-winning filmmaker Jason DaSilva on First Steps, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (2009) and also screened at the Vancouver Film Festival (2009). He then went on to produce the feature-length documentary When I Walk, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (2013), broadcast on PBS/POV (2014), won Best Canadian Feature Documentary award at Hot Docs (2013), Grand Jury Award for Best Film at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (2013), and Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival (2013). It won a News & Documentary Emmy in 2015. Leigh also produced the mobile application AXS Map, which is a crowd-sourced platform for mapping wheelchair accessible locations. It has received funding from numerous donors, including Google through the Tides Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, and the Canada Media Fund. He is the President of the award-winning production company In Face Films. As a PMP certified producer/project manager that also specializes in transmedia storytelling and digital media, he currently sits on the Moving Images Distribution Board of Directors as Vice-Chair. He is pursuing a Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota.
Board member and Filmmaker
Karin is a duPont-Columbia University award winning filmmaker. She has produced/directed four feature films, and has worked on numerous other productions including Jason DaSilva’s Emmy award winning film “When I Walk.” Karin has filmed for various mapathons and is currently producing a film about spinal muscular atrophy called “Magnificent Burden.”
Brendan has extensive experience in sales, management and business development in the field of merchant services and is currently studying for his master’s degree in sustainability with a specific focus on aspects of urban accessibility. Brendan’s role on the board is bolstered by his business acumen and interest in understanding and progressing accessibility rights and issues. As global cities evolve alongside technology, Brendan is instrumental in his perspective to advance the position of accessibility as a coupled aspect of urban sustainability as a whole.
Board member and Advisor
Columbia Journalism school; lifetime Writers Guild; Screenwriter for Altman, Gillian Armstrong & paul Verhoeven -- & my "Pretend" credits: Lincoln center premiere, 2003, called "dazzling" a. o. Scott New York Times. Praised in Voice, Daily Variety, Ny daily news Etc Etc. Opening film, Images Film festival, 2005. Then 60 Cameras Against the War - premiered @ Whitney Museum. Bennington college guest professor along with guest stints at Yale, Cornell, Columbia, UCLA, New School for Social Research, Sorbonne, Pratt, CUNY, Pace. Publications: village voice, American film, Salon, Channels contributing editor.
AXS Map Embassador in South America
Alberto del Moral is AXS Lab’s multilingual interpreter, who brings to our team a deep passion for foreign languages and cultures. He’s also a powerful advocate for human rights and people with disabilities. Physically disabled by multiple sclerosis, he’s a courageous fighter who’s fully committed to helping create a more inclusive world for everyone. Born in Mexico City, he migrated to the United States at age 19, where he was a big influence in the fashion industry, advertising and hospitality. He’s also a well sought after authority on art, films, documentaries, and travel. Today, he calls New York City home, after living many years in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Tucker Salovaara is a recent graduate. He received his B.Tech in Emerging Media Technologies with a concentration in Media Design. He is a member of the MTA’s Access-A-Ride Committee, in which he works towards making the current system more efficient and reliable. Also, he works for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. He is a video editor and proficient web designer. He maintains and evaluates the UX/UI in order to allow for easier access for those using this service. Tucker is pursuing Master’s Degree in Disability Studies so that he could continue to improve the lives of the disabled community.
Dan DaSilva is currently working in the fast-paced world of Digital Marketing and is dedicated to help make an impact on accessibility through the lens of technology and the internet. Dan is originally from Vancouver, Canada and followed his dream of making it in New York. Having come from a non-profit background of 8 years which included a consultancy at the UN, he acquires a unique blend of multi-faceted experience in both human rights and the digital world. When he isn’t glued to his computer screen, you can find Dan traveling the world, partaking in outdoor activities, and constantly seeking out new restaurants and bars in NYC.
JAMAL HODGE is a multi-award winning filmmaker and writer. Since May of 2016 Jamal Hodge's films have been an official selection in over 90 Film Festivals, and have won 30+awards including Best Director @The Hip Hop Film Festival, Best Short Film @The People’s Film Festival, And the Audience Choice Award @Blackstar Film Festival. In 2005 a documentary film he shot 'BULLETS IN THE HOOD' won the Sundance Audience choice Award. Also in 2018 he directed the first season of Investigation Discovery Channel's 'Primal Instinct' and came on as a Producer on the Animated feature film 'Pierre The Pigeon Hawk' starring Nick Cannon, Whoopi Goldberg, and Howie Mandel.
As a writer his short screenplay 'Mourning Meal' won 5 awards (including best short screenplay at NYC Horror Film Festival 2018) and was featured as a finalist in 7 writing competitions including (Shriekfest, Crimson Screen, Nightmares Film Festival). While his feature film Screenplay ‘The Kind Ones’ has been a finalist at Shriekfest and Crimson Screen in 2019. Jamal's horror poetry has been featured in SPACE AND TIME MAGAZINE, And he's been the featured writer in April 2019 at ACT UP! at Harlem's National Black Theatre. In 2020 he is gearing up to launch a Sci-fi Novel series, and a book of poetry edited by 5-time Stoker award winner Linda Addison.
Motivated by his accomplishments, Hodge has blossomed to take his talents to the next level. Jamal's tone of work, or what he calls, "Inspirational Darkness", can be described as a melding of genres. The Psychological Horror, Thriller, and Inspirational genres are Jamal's usual forte of film making. His mission is to add value to people’s lives through his unique brand of cinema. He’s excited to continue to grow outstanding partnerships to create memorable and impactful cinematic experiences for audiences across the world.
Get In Touch!
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times about When I Walk
Ernest Hardy, Village Voice about When I Walk
Vignesh Ramachandran, Mashable about AXS Map
Maurie Alioff, POV Magazine about When We Walk
Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw LLP about AXS MAP
Start your own AXS Map Mapathon, and map your neighborhood, town, or city! Click here to sign up to AXS Map
Registered 501c3 and ready to work with your organization in innovative ways. Please email us below to find out more information.
Young filmmakers and programmers to volunteer and support our projects.
Click here to find our current fundraising campaign.