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28/07/2004

UK cinemas revolutionised with digital subtitling equipment

Over 100 cinemas in the UK now offer subtitled screenings of the latest blockbuster films, thanks to the most up-to-date digital subtitling equipment.
This increase in subtitled screenings marks a revolution for millions of would-be cinema goers across the country, at long last allowing them to enjoy big screen films with friends and family.
Research by RNID, the largest charity representing the nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, shows that five million people across Great Britain use subtitles regularly to enjoy television, many of whom will now be able to enjoy subtitled screenings of the latest cinema releases. This move by cinemas to improve access for deaf and hard of hearing people and comply with the forthcoming Disability Discrimination Act duties is warmly welcomed by RNID.
Dr John Low, Chief Executive of RNID, said: “Deaf and hard of hearing people have been excluded from the enjoyment of mainstream cinema since the end of silent movies in the 1920’s. With the final part of the Disability Discrimination Act coming into full force in October 2004, equal access is a crucial issue for all cinema operators.”
The demand to see the latest cinema releases with subtitles is so high that a dedicated website www.yourlocalcinema.com has been established to provide comprehensive listing information on subtitled screenings across the country.
The Barbican Screen in London is one of the many cinemas installing the latest digital subtitling equipment. Robert Rider, Head of Barbican Screen said: “We look forward to welcoming deaf and hard of hearing visitors to Barbican Screen to enjoy the wealth of cinema on offer through our diverse programme of mainstream and world cinema. Our commitment to engage with deaf and hard of hearing people is without question and we are committed to programming these screenings in regular week-day evening and weekend slots.”
RNID has campaigned vigorously for deaf and hard of hearing people to be able to enjoy the cinema along with their friends and family for the last five years. Among the campaign’s many successes, was the UK Film Council’s grant in February this year, to help provide and install 78 cinemas with the latest digital subtitling equipment. Prior to this grant, there were only twenty-two cinemas out of almost 700 in the UK that had adequate subtitling equipment, with the some other cinemas using prints with burnt-on subtitles when available.
The meant many deaf and hard hearing people had to travel unacceptable distances for a specific screening just to enjoy the latest film - a pleasure that many hearing people take for granted.
(GB)

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