Now that we are in a new age, more and more people have been open to those with disabilities. In the past, if you don’t have a friend or a family member that is disabled you may not know about the things they experience and how different their life is. Before, people with disabilities are looked at differently, discriminated against, or belittled. Although through pushing awareness as years go by, we have become more knowledgeable on the struggles of people with disabilities, and because of that more and more people have empathy towards people with disabilities. We have stepped into a new era, one where accessibility is important. We as humans are evolving into an inclusive community when it comes to design, socialization, careers, architecture, and even film. Why is this so important you may ask? The answer here is simple. Accessibility is a human right. Everyone deserves to experience the same things whether it be simple things such as going up the stairs, walking down the street, getting an education, socializing, using the public bathroom, and even watching a movie. These are all things that one can enjoy and, unfortunately, certain things weren’t made for those with disabilities.
Watching a movie is one of the most enjoyable activities one can do. It is one of the most popular mediums of entertainment and everyone should be able to enjoy it. So how can movies be accessible to everyone? Here are a few ways:
Through ADA compliance. We could build a more inclusive environment in the film industry. The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA is made to protect those against discrimination. It is made to serve as a guide that will help entrepreneurs, business owners, and innovators to create a more inclusive and accessible society or community to live in. The ADA covers wide sectors and aspects but mainly, it covers all those businesses that serve as a public accommodation. To learn more check out the ADA Compliance Pros website.
One of the things that are considered as public accommodation is places and spaces that are open for the public and this includes theaters or movie houses.
So how can we make theaters or movie houses ADA compliant? First, it should accommodate those who use mobility aids. These are wheelchairs, crutches, etc. Aisles or hallways should be wide enough for those with mobility aids to maneuver and go around. There should also be ramps to serve as an alternative to chairs. There should also be spaces inside the moviehouse for those with wheelchairs so that they don’t have to switch to a theater seat if they don’t wish to or if they find it hard to do that. Comfort rooms should also have a PWD cubicle. It should be big enough to accommodate those with mobility aids and it should have safety rails that they can hold on to for ease of movement. The parking lots at the movie house should also have PWD slots that are near the entrance and exit.
Now, for the actual movies, It should be common by now, but it’s not so it’s worth mentioning all movies should have subtitles. There are new ways to show the film, it is still not common but it is a step forward for the industry. Some theaters can provide personal audio devices that can help those who are blind. The audio devices have audio that describes what is happening in detail. For movies that are available online via streaming services, there are ways that they could make their film more accessible, such as providing a transcript. A transcript is more detailed than subtitles and could help those who are deaf to fully grasp what is happening in an auditory sense.
Most of the time the reason why production houses in the film industry pass on the opportunity to make their films accessible is because of budget cuts. It can be costly to make open captions, closed captions, and subtitles alone. What more for specialized content for those who are disabled. I do hope that this changes in the future and that there would be a better way to allow films to become more accessible