LIZA B. KRASSNER – Executive Producer
Liza is a first generation Filipino who came to California in 1976 and is a veteran UC Irvine administrator whose professional background and interests includes public, financial and research administration, networking, community relations, and public service in areas of global/international public health, health promotion, advocacy and education. Her personal interests include travel, cooking, watching sports, and the arts. She loves jazz and the dance arts but specially the tango, which she dances socially whenever her time allows.
In 1997, Liza gave birth to a wonderful son who was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She later discovered that the tango had a tremendous impact on her understanding the concept of connection through the movement of the dance. The discovery was truly healing, and this learned concept of non-verbal communication or “connection” with another individual on the dance floor was brought home to train her on being more in tune with her own son. This effect continues to be the driving force in her support of the dance arts as a vehicle for connecting with persons with ASD.
Outside UCI, she devotes time consulting or volunteering in projects in support of the arts while continuing to raise autism awareness. She volunteers regularly at KKJZ 88.1 FM, her favorite jazz station, serves a member of the Board of Governors of the Center Club Costa Mesa and as a Parent Ambassador of the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California (http://www.thecenter4autism.org/) which mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families challenged by Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders though excellence in clinical care, quality education & training, innovative research and community engagement.
More recently, Liza embarked on a personal mission to promote and advocate the workforce development and employment of persons with autism and other learning disabilities.
Her worked so far led into three film projects: “Impact of ASD on Families, An Interview with Liza Krassner”, “Hire Me” a public service video highlighting the abilities of transitioning youth into the workforce, and “Through the Heart of Tango” which employed Inclusion Films student graduates and provided others the training platform working on a film project. Liza believes that this mission cannot be done alone, so she fostered relationships between the public and private sectors including The Center of Autism, the Regional Center of Orange County, Irvine & Whittier Unified School Districts, New Vista School, and Joey Travolta’s Inclusion Films Workshop, to work on the various opportunities in achieving this mission.
Liza received her B.A. in Psychology from UC Irvine and completed her Master in Public Administration in Cal State University at Long Beach. She currently lives in Orange County with her husband and two sons.
Her next dance-art series, Hula is My Language, will wrap production in 2014.
Inclusion Films Workshop provides adults with developmental disabilities an introduction to film production. Our curriculum moves beyond classroom instruction and offers students real-world experience. Throughout each semester, students work as a team to create and produce a short thesis film.
After completing the program, students are encouraged to apply for a position at our own production company, Team Diversity Media, as well as seek employment in the film industry through other avenues.
Inclusion Films Workshop seeks to promote the creative skills and strong work ethic of film makers with developmental disabilities, ultimately allowing them to become more independent, self confident, and well-rounded individuals.
We currently have locations in Burbank and Bakersfield, California.
DANCE INTO UNITY
The mission and purpose of Dance Into Unity is to provide the Autism Community Integration through the Arts. We are promoting and creating a unique template of Integrative Education through the arts leading to Employment.
We work with youth and young adults (16-24) with and without autism teaching them how to connect by involving them in all aspects of film/stage production. We use “Match A Friend” integration module matching individuals with and without autism based on their personality, interests and abilitiy to creatively perform tasks.
Our goal is to empower both youth and young adults with and without autism to reach their fullest potential by engaging them in all aspects of film/stage production.
We use the stage as a powerful outlet, which stimulates expression of young people and a powerful platform to educate the community about autism.
Dance Into Unity, Inc. was officially established in January 2007 as a 501 (C) (3) organization.