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!
AXS Lab is dedicated to serving people living with disabilities through media and technology.
Started in 2008 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 Outstanding Informational Programming Long Form.
In 2008 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.
“I know what it is like to lose your independence, and the social isolation people face when dealing with 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” - Jason DaSilva
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 AXS Map is now considered the largest database for accessibility data in North America.
Since 2013, AXS Lab has been 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. He holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration (Marketing) from the University of South Dakota.
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 specializes in web design, video editing, and social media management. He is an advocate for the disabled community and strives to increase inclusion for everyone. Tucker currently works for Theater Breaking Through Barriers (TBTB) as a Business Administrative Apprentice, where he focuses on social media promotion, website management, fundraising, and ensuring that all content is accessible to everyone. He is a member of the MTA’s Access-A-Ride Committee among many other advocacy organizations. Tucker has a Bachelor’s degree in Emerging Media Technologies with a concentration in Media Design. He is excited to pair up with AXS Lab to help individuals like himself, have an accessible world to live in.
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.
Dmitry Koltunov is a technology leader with a love for startups, product, design, and engineering. He is the CTO and Co-Founder of ALICE, a NYC startup with 50m investment operating across the world. Dmitry has a blend of corporate and startup experience, and has served in various executive positions with both startups and leading global financial institutions. Dmitry currently serves as the director for the NYC chapter of the Startup Leadership Program (SLP), a global fellowship for founders to learn how to start companies through community driven learning.
Phil is a native New Yorker and former high school teacher who taught computer technology. His diverse background includes reporting the news at WBAI where he also produced a monthly radio program called “The Largest Minority” that focused on issues concerning people with disabilities. Phil and his wife Juliette pioneered the effort to establish taxi service for mobility impaired New Yorkers by starting the first wheelchair accessible car service in 1995.
Siddhartha Joag is a visual artist, journalist and producer who has worked closely with social justice and human rights movements in the U.S. and internationally for twenty years. From 2011 to 2015, Sidd served as Director of freeDimensional, an international network that supported over 250 artists and activists facing persecution and forcible displacement. Sidd received his academic training at the London School of Economics and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He is currently the Managing Editor at ArtsEverywhere, an international digital, print and exhibition platform for artistic and journalistic exploration on the fault lines of modern society, a project of the Musagetes Foundation. His paintings, installations, murals and community projects have been seen in the U.S., Canada, India, China, the Philippines, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Northern Ireland. Sidd lives and works in New York City.
Naomi has worked with AXS Lab for several years as a creative and development assistant. She’s worked closely with Jason in developing and securing funding for the AXS Film Fund, as well as nurturing its growth and sustainability. She holds a bachelors from Bennington college in film, visual arts, and public action and an MA in Filmmaking from the University of Sussex. Through her studies she came to the understanding that her work in social justice is to help give people voice, thus empowering them and others to take action. Her short documentary HELO (Home, Education, Love, Opportunity), was an official selection and screened at the Bennington Alumni Film & Creativity Festival in 2019.
Mimoza is an analytical and detail oriented banking professional with 10 years of experience. Exceptionally organized and focused demonstrating an outstanding aptitude to manage and balance a variety of day to day transition, providing overachieving assistance services team management products cross sales.
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
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Young filmmakers and programmers to volunteer and support our projects.
Click here to find our current fundraising campaign.