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July 24, 2004

Deaf want more theaters to show captioned films

From: Green Bay Press Gazette, WI - Jul 24, 2004

Marcus offers service in five locations in state

By Regina McCabe

ASHWAUBENON — Members of the deaf and hearing-impaired community say they are frustrated that not all movies in the area are captioned.

Jason Altmann, one of about 10 deaf movie patrons at Bay Park Cinema recently, had one request: He wants open-captioned movies in his hometown.

"I have tried to negotiate with Marcus Theatres to bring open-captioned movies to Wausau." said Altmann, who traveled from Wausau to watch the movie, "Spider-Man 2." "There are a lot of deaf and hard-of-hearing people out there."

Marcus Theatres offers open-captioned movies at five locations in Wisconsin: Hollywood Cinemas in Appleton; Eastgate Cinemas in Madison; Menomonee Falls Marcus Cinema in Menomonee Falls; Ridge Cinemas in New Berlin and Bay Park Cinema in Green Bay.

"We are doing what we can to create the opportunity to meet the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community," said Carlo Petrick, spokesman for Marcus Theatres.

"I cannot answer whether we will ever be at 100 percent," Petrick said. "It's an evolving process."

He said part of that process is a new system, DTS-CSS (Cinema Subtitling System), which allows open-captioned films to be shown simultaneously at multiple theatres and makes them available in less time.

"Several weeks ago, it would've taken months to show a new-release movie," Petrick said. "Now, with the new system, it's within weeks."

It was still not enough for Terri Matenaer of Green Bay.

"The sad thing is people need to know about it," said Matenaer, who did not know about the movie until late Thursday. "There needs to be a better network in place to communicate."

Matenaer suggested a network or contact center because not all deaf people get the newspaper or have access to a computer.

"We don't have the same flexibility as hearing people," Matenaer said. "I am hoping that open-captioned movies will eventually be expanded to other deaf communities."

Open-captioned movie schedules are publicized through the newspaper and e-mail lists, Petrick said.

In a telephone interview, Curtis Fuller of Neenah said he was not aware of the recent improvements to open-captioned movies.

"They (Hollywood Cinemas) were showing open-captioned films on Tuesdays for about a year now, but then again, it was not always every Tuesdays," said Fuller, whose wife and daughter are deaf. "Once or twice we went to Green Bay because they played on different days."

Fuller said he would like to watch the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," but it is not available in an open-caption format.

"We would like all movies to be open-captioned when we want to go and not just certain movies," Fuller said. "They should have equal access for all people."

Movie showings
Open-captioned movies will be shown at Bay Park Cinema at the following times this weekend:

1:30 p.m. Saturday

6:40 p.m. Sunday

Copyright © 2004 Green Bay Press Gazette