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Is The Film Industry Becoming More Deaf Aware?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

We are living in an ever-changing era, where accessibility for deaf people seems more attainable. UK cinemas are committed to being inclusive and meeting the needs of all their customers.

Not too long time ago D/deaf people assumed that the cinema was no place for them, but subtitled screening has been greatly advances in the last few years, with the deaf community now enjoying access to many more films.

With this in mind, what do you think about recent film releases and their accessibility for the deaf community and BSL? It seems that subtitles work well on the big screen, attracts positive attention and discussion, and more importantly, helps spread deaf awareness!

Have you seen any of the recent brilliant and successful films I’m talking about? No?! Then please make room in your schedule and don’t miss out!

  • The Silent Child – The Oscar Winner for "Best Live-Action Short Film" tells the story of Libby, a profoundly deaf four-year-old girl, who lives in a silent world until a social worker teaches her how to communicate through sign language. Watch the trailer:

  • The Shape of Water – With thirteen nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, where it won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design, the story follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who falls in love with a captured humanoid amphibian creature. Watch the trailer:

  • Wonderstruck – tells the story of two children united across different decades by their pursuit of dreams, and experiences of deafness. Watch the trailer:

  • A Quiet Place - Horror thriller film features a deaf girl and her hearing family who have to stay quiet on a remote farm to avoid making any noise that would attract mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. (Release on April). Watch the trailer:

You can find a list of accessible screening cinemas in the UK in the following websites:

Remember that your accessible cinemas should provide a wide range of each access:

  • The staff should have deaf awareness training or know some British Sign Language and understand the needs of D/deaf people.

  • There should be accessible equipment eg hearing loop or infrared systems.

  • The cinema should have subtitled films, BSL interpreted films, etc…

  • They should offer a wider selection of days and times for accessible screenings.

  • The website should be accessible and offer different ways to contact the cinema (email, text, face to face eg skype or facetime…)

Yes…I know…it’s hard to find a cinema that meets all the requirements and it could be an almost impossible task, but everyone can engage and contribute to awareness, which will lead to improvements for all. So, don’t be shy with your ideas to improve access for everyone! You can:

  • Tell the cinema if the screening times are unsuitable – say if an evening or weekend slot would be a good option.

  • Give your feedback if you feel the accessible information on their website is not accessible enough and how they could improve it

  • Asking why they don’t have accessible equipment or if they do, why the equipment doesn’t work. Your cinema may not be aware of any problems in this area.

Everyone can contribute to improving deaf awareness and making it the norm. Little by little we all can do it! 😊

Finally, why don’t you tell me what is your favourite example of deaf awareness at the cinema and your favourite film? What is your preferred accessible cinema? Leave us your comments please!


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