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December 11, 2002

Cinema changes for deaf and blind

From: icWales, UK - 11 Dec 2002

The Western Mail

ONE in 10 cinemas will become more accessible to the blind and deaf under a new pilot scheme. The Film Council has agreed half-a-million pounds of Lottery cash will be invested in equipment and captioning for movie houses around the UK.

The movie industry will be asked to match that cash to allow the visually impaired and those with hearing difficulties to enjoy blockbusters and art house films.

A total of £350,000 will be spent on introducing caption and audio description equipment to cinemas to assess demand for the services. Matching funding from cinema owners would allow 75 venues to be equipped.

Further cash would permit grants for distributors to provide captions and audio description, and fund research in the area.

"Films help to shape the way we think about and understand the world and how people think about us, and the Film Council wants to work with the film industry to ensure that as many people have access to as broad a range of films as possible," said the Film Council's head of distribution Pete Buckingham.

"At a time when cinema-going in the UK is at a 30-year high, these proposals are intended to help ensure that in the future the 15% of people in the UK who experience hearing or visual impairments are able to enjoy going to the cinema as well."

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