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Visits to cinema enhanced for people with sensory disabilities in Scotland

19/12/2006

Deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired people will be able to enjoy more trips to the cinema thanks to a new programme launched today by Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council.

The Cinema Access Equipment Investment Programme will invest £100,000 for the installation of audio-description and captioning equipment in cinemas throughout Scotland, giving greater access to films for people with sensory impairments.

The initiative will work in partnership with similar programmes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in a UK-wide aim to increase access to all types of film for those with sensory impairments. 

Derek Brandon runs a web service listing accessible cinemas in the UK called www.yourlocalcinema.com  He has worked on a study into attitudes towards subtitling and audio description services for cinemas and supported the launch of the fund and commented:

“I really do hope that as many cinemas as possible take up this fantastic offer of grants. These days, most popular films are released with subtitle and description files. It will be great to put these files to use.”

The initiative has been launched with the support of the RNID Scotland, the national charity for deaf and hard of hearing people, RNIB and the UK Film Council as well as cinema operators and film distributors.

Delia Henry, Director for RNID Scotland says:

“We welcome investment in the provision of cinema subtitling in Scotland.  It is fantastic news that the needs of deaf and hard of hearing people are being recognised by Scottish Screen and the Scottish Arts Council.  This will go a long way to ensuring films are accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people across the whole of the Scotland.”

John Legg, Director for RNIB also commented:

“RNIB Scotland warmly welcomes the roll out of audio description in Scotland’s cinemas. This will allow many more blind and partially sighted people to enjoy the excitement and fun of the movies alongside their family and friends.”

Morgan Petrie, Head of Market Development for Scottish Screen said:

“We want cinema to be as accessible as possible. This initiative supports the provision of equipment for people with sensory impairments to enjoy a richer cinema experience.”

Maggie Maxwell, Head of Equalities at the Scottish Art Council said:

“The Scottish Arts Council is committed to tackling barriers which may prevent participation and enjoyment of the arts in Scotland.  This initiative will engage new audiences in an exciting and inclusive way and we look forward to working with Scottish Screen to increase audiences for cinema in Scotland.”

Further information
Linsey Denholm
Communications Manager
Scottish Screen
0141 302 1749
07970 082 619
email linsey.denholm@scottishscreen.com

Elise Clayton
Communications Officer
Scottish Arts Council
0131 226 6051
email media.office@scottisharts.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. The Cinema Access Equipment Investment Fund will invest £100,000 in the Scottish screen exhibition sector with the aim of securing an additional £100,000 in match funding making the total investment in audio-description and captioning equipment £200,000.
  2. The Fund will provide grants of up to £5,000 for film exhibitors to buy audio-description and captioning equipment that can be used by audience members with sensory impairments.
  3. A UK-wide study into use of subtitling and audio-description equipment by ITFC and www.yourlocalcinema.com found that most respondents would visit the cinema more often as a result of this equipment being more readily available.
  4. Scottish Screen is the national screen agency for Scotland with responsibility for developing all aspects of screen culture and industry across the country.
  5. Scottish Screen invests more than £6m in the development and promotion Scotland’s screen industries each year. This includes distributing £3m of National Lottery funds. We invest in a range of initiatives, projects and activities designed to develop talent, audiences and businesses across the country.
  6. With over 100 Scottish-based production companies and more than 300 facilities companies generating a turnover of £1.2 billion (€1.7 billion) per year, production activity in Scotland is the highest in the UK outside London.
  7. For more information on the activities of Scotland’s screen agency, go to www.scottishscreen.com

Contact email(s)

media.office@scottisharts.org.uk

Issued by: Scottish Arts Council

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