By Reynard Magtoto
NAGA CITY, 07Feb2015 (BicolToday.com) — For the first time, SM Naga Cinema had a special movie screening featuring an Audio Description and Close Captioning for the convenience of its blind and deaf audience this year.
To roll-out four blockbuster movies in a special movie screening for the blind and deaf in selected SM Supermalls, SM Cares partnered with Deaf Blind Support Philippines, Inc., Center for Advocacy, Learning, and Livelihood (CALL) Foundation with the Blind as well as with the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and SM Cinema.
SM Naga Cinema had the special screening of the film “Taken 2” with additional features last January 19 and hopefully other films with the same features will be shown for the next months according to the management.
“We invited our partners from the media, from the Persons With Disabilities sector and other organizations to come and watch, for them to experience that the blind and deaf can also watch movie,” Engr. Christian-Wesley Villanueva, mall manager of SM City Naga said.
Finally Leonito Jagarab Jr. who works for Naga City Visually Impaired Association (NACIVIA) for three years had the chance to watch the part II of his favorite French action thriller film “Taken”.
“I like action movies, but I miss some part of the film because there are parts which are unfit for the blind,” Jagarab Jr., a 28-year old visually impaired massage therapist said. “I want to know the flow of the story from the beginning til the end.”
The rest of the blockbuster movies with two added features shown in the country were the 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film Hugo shown in SM San Lorenzo, the film based on a Canadian fantasy adventure novel titled Life of Pi in SM Pampanga, and the 2012 British epic romantic musical historical drama film Les Misérables featured in SM South Mall.
Audio Description for the Blind
The audio description which is a special narration of key visual elements of a film helps the visually impaired viewer to follow the development of the story of the movie.
“Audio description gives advantage not only to the blind, but also to sighted persons who can benefit from the concise translation of the visual elements,” Engr. Villanueva said.
According to him, the additional narrative explains the actions, costumes, gestures, facial expressions, scene changes and onscreen text. Without distracting the original flow of the film, the additional narrative are inserted into pauses in between screen dialogues.
OIC Christopher Molin of Naga City Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) expected the audio description as told by the Mall Manager. However according to Molin, He did not hear the audio description which was expected to be heard by the blind viewers.
“I don’t know what’s happening during silent moments and while the background music was playing,” Jagarap Jr. said but he understood the film in general despite the shortcomings of the screening.
Engr. Villanueva explained that the films were actually provided by their partners. “For SM, our cost is for the operation of the Cinema,” he said.
Close Captioning for the Deaf
On the other hand, the Close Captioning for the Deaf is effective.
According to Engr. Villanueva, Close Captioning transcribes the audio portion of the program, the speakers, describe the sound effects and indicate music and laughter so that the deaf audience can read the words on screen.
Inalyn Nivales, master teacher I of Naga Central II – SPED Center said that the features are good but the screened movie should not present violence.
Special movie screening for the blind and deaf are important because the screened films contain visuals that they can understand and apply in their life aside from sign language according to Nivales.
“Our main achievement is to show the commitment of SM that we’re not just a typical mall but a mall with social responsibility,” Engr. Villanueva said. According to him, it is the initiative of the SM Cares not just to concentrate to the usual customers but also to engage in other sectors like the PWDs.
“If movie operators in the malls really wanted, we can really cater to the needs not only to our regular customers,” Engr. Villanueva added.
Taken 2 with additional features will be shown next in SM Lucena.
Having a breakthrough in social participation of other special sectors, SM Naga Cinema caters free movie screening for Disable and Senior Citizens every Monday. [BicolToday.com]