Accessible Cinema: Captions and More at BMFI
January 23, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Gina Izzo, Director of Marketing and Membership, 856-524-1341, email@example.com
Images and logos for media use: https://brynmawrfilm.org/about/press-media/bmfi-media-kit/
Accessible Cinema: Captions and More at BMFI
Bryn Mawr, PA – Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is committed to presenting accessible cinema experiences for all movie-lovers, including the D/deaf and hard of hearing, visually impaired, physically disabled, and caregivers of all kinds.
This weekend shined a negative spotlight on the Sundance Film Festival after jurors walked out of the Magazine Dreams premiere when festival organizers could not provide a functioning caption device for juror Marlee Matlin. This incident has sparked a national conversation about open captions, closed captions, and other features to support accessibility in the cinema. BMFI offers open caption screenings weekly, as well as a host of supportive viewing devices for those who need them.
- For the D/deaf and hard of hearing
- Open Captioning – New!
- Open captioned screenings of select films are presented on Tuesdays.
- Open captioning is a text display of words and sounds in a movie. Similar to subtitles in a foreign-language film, this text appears on screen, for all to see, throughout the movie.
- BMFI is presenting its third week of open captioned screenings with enthusiastic support from appreciative patrons.
- Closed Captioning
- Closed captioning is available for most main attraction films, indicated with a closed caption logo on BrynMawrFilm.org.
- Closed captioning is a text display of words and sounds in a movie that appear on an individual LED screen that fits in a theater-seat cupholder.
- Closed caption viewing devices are available to borrow free of charge at the concessions stand.
- Hearing Assist Devices
- Assistive-listening headphones are available for all films to amplify audio for patrons who are hard of hearing.
- Audio neck loops work in conjunction with T-coil-enabled hearing aids to amplify the film’s volume for the individual wearer.
- Hearing-assist devices are available to borrow free of charge at the concessions stand.
- For the blind and visually impaired
- Audio Description
- Audio description is a recorded commentary track that describes important visual details in a film that cannot be understood from the soundtrack alone.
- Assistive-listening headphones are available to deliver audio description for patrons who are blind or visually impaired.
- Headphones for audio description are available free of charge at the concessions stand.
- Most main attraction films are equipped with audio description tracks, indicated with an audio description logo on BrynMawrFilm.org.
- Braille Signage
- Braille signage is available throughout the theater building.
- For caregivers
- Caregivers with infants: Going Gaga
- Going Gaga is a weekly program on Wednesday afternoons for caregivers with infants.
- Going Gaga screenings feature one of the latest main attraction movies with theater conditions adjusted to create a baby-friendly environment.
- House lights are kept on slightly for the entire screening so caregivers can more easily enter and exit the theater as needed.
- Volume is lowered to protect babies’ sensitive ears.
- All rear -lobby restrooms are equipped with changing tables.
- Caregivers with disabled persons
- Patient Care Assistants (PCA) accompanying disabled persons receive free admission to BMFI programs.
- For mobility impairments
- Building Accessibility
- The theater building entrance, all four theaters, all building exits, and all public areas are fully accessible.
- There are automatic doors at the theater entrance on Lancaster Avenue.
- Wheelchair seating is available in all theaters.
- The Connelly Elevator provides access to the second floor classroom.
- A wheelchair is available to help people through the building and to and from their seats. The wheelchair is available to free of charge with help from any staff member.
- All BMFI restrooms are wheelchair/powerchair accessible restrooms, including a single-user restroom that accommodates a care assistant.
It is important to note that while exhibitors like BMFI are responsible for utilizing features like open captions and providing accessibility technology to patrons, studios and distributors are responsible for providing the content such as captions and audio descriptive tracks. Not all film DCPs (Digital Cinema Packages, the standard format for exhibiting films in theaters) come loaded with these features. Providing equitable and accessible cinema experiences requires a partnership between the studios and distributors that offer the films and the theaters and festivals that present them.
BMFI is committed to supporting our entire community, including those who are D/deaf and hard of hearing, visually impaired, physically disabled, and caregivers of all kinds. Using assistive technology, customized theater experiences, and architectural infrastructure, BMFI welcomes all of its neighbors, and continues to strive for the best cinema experience for all.
About Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is a nonprofit, member-supported motion picture theater and film education center located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. BMFI is dedicated to promoting shared experiences that entertain, engage, and educate audiences through a diverse range of independent-minded films, a full curriculum of courses, and an extensive program of special events. BMFI was established in 2005 and has since become one of the nation’s largest and most successful art house theaters.