Troy Kotsur earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Frank, the fisherman father of a hearing daughter who wants to be a singer in director Sian Heder’s CODA (2021). The film also won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Kotsur is the first Deaf male actor and only the second Deaf actor overall to win the Oscar, after his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin for her role in Children of a Lesser God (1986). Kotsur also earned BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Gotham, Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild awards, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his CODA role. A native of Mesa, Arizona, Kotsur began acting in grade school. He studied theater, film and television at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and following graduation, toured with the National Theatre of the Deaf. He began working with the Deaf West Theatre in Los Angeles in 1994 where he directed and acted in several stage productions including Spring Awakening. In 2012, he was nominated for an Ovation Award for his role in the Deaf West Theatre production of Cyrano. Kotsur’s film credits include The Number 23 (2007), Universal Signs (2008), No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie (2013), which he also directed, and Wild Prairie Rose (2016). On TV, he has had roles on Strong Medicine, Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye, Doc, CSI: NY, Scrubs, Criminal Minds and the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. For the latter, he created the Tusken sign language, which has also been used in the show’s spinoff series The Book of Boba Fett.
Nyle DiMarco, a New York Times best-selling author and oscar-nomimated, has conquered obstacles and won admirers since he made his entrance in 2014. In addition to his prosperous TV appearances, he is presently crafting and creating both scripted and unscripted shows, while also consulting on disability integration and genuine depiction. DiMarco is now embarking on his first directing project, a documentary.
DiMarco is currently producing and developing scripted and non-scripted programming ; including sales and development with Spectrum, NBC, Universal, Netflix, Peacock and more.
Louis Neethling began in 1993 as a children's TV presenter on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and was even nominated for an Artes Award.
Louis directed more than 100 episodes of Young & Speechless, the world's first Deaf continuing drama series, for SABC.
In 2001, he moved to the UK and started working at the BBC as a director and assistant producer on various factual TV shows. Also for the BBC, he directed five series of Switch.
In Sweden, Louis directed ten episodes of Inte Varre An Andra, the world's first Swedish deaf comedy drama, for SVT.
Louis's creativity didn't stop there. He directed and produced two series of Small World, which made history as the world's first sign language sitcoms.
In 2022, he directed and produced five episodes of the mockumentary Coffee Morning Club (CMC) for BSLBT.
Louis has also won awards for his short films, including Coming Out, Tree Fairy, Four Deaf Yorkshireman, and Departure Lounge.
In recognition of his impressive work in Deaf media over the past 28 years, the University of Wolverhampton awarded Louis Neethling an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.
Shoshannah Stern represents the fourth generation of a deaf family. As an actor, she has appeared on Weeds, Jericho, Grey’s Anatomy and Supernatural. She is the co-creator, writer, executive producer and star of Sundance TV’s acclaimed This Close, and currently has several projects in development including a thriller for AMC. Shoshannah has also helped write and develop several television series for companies such as Marvel and Disney Plus. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
Lauren began her meteoric rise as an actor just five years ago. Prior to that, she won the title of Miss Deaf America and was a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan for a decade. After leaving that job to take care of her two young children, she was hired in 2016 to tutor director Kenny Leon in American Sign Language as he readied the Broadway revival of Children of A Lesser God. After working together for months, Kenny and the producers concluded that Lauren was the ideal and only choice for the lead. She pulled it off with resounding success, including multiple rave reviews from the New York Times and a Tony nomination. She soon became a series regular on the longrunning AMC series, The Walking Dead. She then became the first Deaf superhero opposite Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjani in Marvel’s worldwide hit, Eternals. Lauren received a 2020 BAFTA Breakthrough award recognizing the most promising stars of film and television. She divides her time between Atlanta and Brooklyn.
In Hollywood and beyond, Deanne Bray-Kotsur is known as someone who brings honesty, depth and her own unique charm to her growing list of roles. She burst onto the scene with her critically acclaimed starring role as Sue Thomas in the award winning television series Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. She then brought a new legion of fans to her work when she was a regular actress on the NBC hit show Heroes where she played the role of 'hero' Emma Coolidge.
She has also worked for Disney, Paramount, HBO, Sony, and NBC as well as having been a stalwart performer at the prestigious Deafwest Theatre and CTG Theater Group, earning accolades and awards for her performances.
She has also done work for Disney, Paramount, HBO, Sony, and NBC as well as having been a stalwart performer at the prestigious Deafwest Theatre and CTG Theater Group, earning accolades and awards for her performances.