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April 15, 2005

Choices expand for deaf filmgoers

From: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, NY - Apr 15, 2005

Jack Garner
Staff film critic

(April 15, 2005) — Open-captioned movies, the preferred method for most film buffs in Rochester's substantial deaf and hard-of-hearing community, are now available at three area theaters.

Certain films will be screened with captions on a regular basis at both the Regal Henrietta and Regal Culver Ridge theaters, and for at least one week per month at Cinemark's second-run Movies 10 theater in west Brighton. Previously, only Regal Henrietta offered them.

That's a good start, says Sam Holcomb, a deaf instructor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. "Naturally, we wish all movies were captioned."

Holcomb says having the opportunity to see new films means the deaf "can have conversations about the films with their hearing and deaf friends."

Forrest Booth Jr., a 24-year-old NTID student, also expressed satisfaction, especially because he had pushed Cinemark to add captioning at Movies 10. "I'm quite overjoyed at this," he says. "(Captioning) is the only way to fully understand the context of the movie."

Open captioning will be presented in two ways. The first involves the printing of the text onto the surface of the film. The newer method projects the text onto the screen from a CD, through a DTS-Cinema Subtitling System.

"That means, if we're projecting the same print onto two screens, one can be with subtitles, and the other without (for the hearing public)," says Randy Smith, senior vice president of Regal Entertainment Group.

Smith says the DTS-CSS method will be used at the Regal Henrietta, while the Regal Culver Ridge will continue with imprinted subtitles.

Smith says most of the major film releases are being subtitled for open-caption screenings.

"The major studios are behind it," Smith says. "We're very optimistic. My son's deaf — and I'm trying to make it work."

Copyright 2005 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle