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28/09/2004

Estelle Morris supports subtitled cinema screenings

Speaking at a subtitled screening of the new blockbuster ‘Wimbledon’, Film Minister Estelle Morris said: “It is essential that so many cinemas can, and do, regularly screen films with subtitles. I would like to give my thanks to Cinema operators who have made more and more films accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people throughout the UK.”
Until four years ago, the only subtitled films shown in cinemas were foreign films, such as ‘Amelie’ or ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, or those screened at specialist deaf film festivals, but now this situation is entirely different. Following tireless campaigning by RNID, which represents nine million deaf and hard of hearing people, together with support from progressive cinema operators and funding from the UK Film Council, 20% of all cinemas across the UK now regularly show subtitled films.
There are 670 cinemas in the UK, and as of the end of September almost 130 cinemas will have the equipment to regularly screen subtitled films. With over one million people reliant on TV subtitles, and five million who use them regularly, the increase in cinemas screening subtitled films means millions more people can now enjoy the latest block-busters. At last, deaf and hard of hearing people have access to mainstream cinemas, without having to travel unacceptable distances for specific screenings - a pleasure many hearing people take for granted.
Dr John Low, Chief Executive of RNID, said: “We very much hope this rapid growth of cinema subtitling will continue. 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.”
He added: “Our vision is for every film that is release to be available with subtitles and for every cinema in the UK to be regularly screening subtitled films.”
(GB)
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