Communiqué from the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG)

November 2011

What is happening in the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group (ACAG)?

The fourth meeting of ACAG, chaired by Senator Jan McLucas, was held in Sydney on 28 September 2011.  Updates were provided by cinemas and discussions held about issues raised through feedback provided by patrons and their peak bodies about the roll-out of accessible technology in the cinemas.

What progress is being made with the Cinema Access Implementation Plan?

Roll-out of Accessible Screens

A total of 61 accessible screens are due to be installed by the end of December 2011.  A Roll-out Plan to December 2011 lists which cinemas will have accessible screens and when.  The date of delivery of equipment sometimes changes, so the dates in the plan are indicative only.  There may also be a few weeks between the date of installation, as given in the Roll-out Plan and the date screening commences.  During this period neither closed captioned nor open captioned movies will be available.

Please check cinema websites for accessible cinema details and screening times.

Availability and Booking of CaptiView Units and Audio Description Devices

Each accessible screen at a cinema complex will have five CaptiView units and five audio description devices available.  If more than five units or devices are required, the devices are able to be moved between screens within the complex, providing the complex has more than one accessible screen.  Cinemas have advised that the devices cannot be booked in advance, either on-line or by phone, so patrons will need to ask for the device when they arrive at the cinema. 

When collecting the equipment some cinemas may request patrons leave a form of identity, such as a driver’s licence, which will be returned when the device is returned.  Whilst this is common business practice when borrowing equipment, ACAG has responded to concerns expressed by some patrons and has asked cinemas to explore other options.  Hoyts, Village and Reading cinemas have agreed the Blind Citizens Australia Identity Card can be used as a form of identity.

Whilst CaptiView and audio description devices are the best current technology for accessible screens, cinemas agreed they will continue to look at other accessible technologies as they become available. 

So that everyone is aware of key issues being raised for consideration by ACAG and the responses provided, a Questions and Answers (Q&A) document has been developed of the most frequently asked questions.

Next Steps, your feedback

ACAG is keen to receive comments or feedback about your cinema experience, which can be sent to  ACAG has also requested its Communication Working Group consider other options of gathering feedback and distributing information so that there is greater awareness about what is happening – the Q&A document will be an important feature of this.

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