To fill in the survey, click here.
You’re Deaf and you want to go to the cinema. Without looking, do you know the film you want to see will be available, at a time you want to see it? Or is there only one screening of a franchise blockbuster at 3:30 and you work (and you have taste)?
If this situation seems familiar, the Independent Cinema Office is looking to improve things for you.
Our work is always about making sure people can see the best films from around the world. However, that doesn’t just mean that these films are available, they must also be accessible. We weren’t unaware of the scale of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing cinema audience, but when we partnered with the British Deaf Association earlier this year on Power in Our Hands (the first documentary about the civil rights struggle of BSL) we were blown away by the number of sell out
shows across the 80 cinemas that showed the film.
But it also made us realise that Deaf people’s experience when they went to the screenings wasn’t always ideal. So now we’re looking to create a national scale project to improve technical delivery, marketing, staff training, community outreach and inclusion and how regularly BSL and HOH subtitled screenings happen.
And we need your input. One of the things that is always a good idea when you are trying to help people is to ask them what they actually want. So that’s why we’ve produced this survey. It only takes five minutes. The point is to show statistically what we know anecdotally: that Deaf people and people who are Hard of Hearing want to go to the cinema more than they do, that the experience could be better and there are clear (and often inexpensive) things cinemas could be doing if they had the opportunity.
We’re a national organisation with relationships with all parts of the film business, which is why we’re the best people to take this on. Just one example: cinemas are often very open to increasing their subtitled showings (and marketing them properly), but they often can’t get information from distributors about what will be available far enough in advance. Distributors aren’t always in a position to afford HOH subtitles. Breaking down these complex issues is something we want to handle in a thorough way, and we have the connections to make it happen.
With the information from the survey, we’re in a really strong position to beat at funders’ doors. So give us your thoughts (don’t hold back!) and we’ll keep fighting to make sure the cinema is a better place for you.
Duncan Carson is the Marketing, Communications and Events Manager for the Independent Cinema Office.
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