Monday, December 12, 2016

Accessible film screening gives unique opportunity

IDEAS recently sponsored the Access All Areas Film Festival Gala Screening, which took place on 4th December. It offered audiences the opportunity to experience the new Australian film, Red Dog: True Blue with a variety of accessible features and environments.

Red Dog: True Blue opens in cinemas on Boxing Day.  The world premiere of the film took place the night before the Gala Screening so the Gala audience were among the first people in the world to enjoy the film. It was important to the Festival organisers, The Bardic Studio, to offer this experience to people who so often have to wait until a film comes out on Blue ray. They hope to offer a new Australian film every year.

The film was popular with the audience and quite a few people said they’d been moved to tears at the end. There was an atmosphere of celebration as people expressed their pride in the standard of this new Australian film and chatted about their favourite moments. The two Red Dogs, Abby and Saffie, who were brought along by their generous handler Jamie, received an abundance of cuddles at the end of the screening as guests left the cinema.

This year, the Gala Screening moved to Event Cinemas Parramatta and was held on a Sunday at 11am. Many long term supporters attended and shared their experience of the growth and development of the Festival. There were also a lot of people attending for the first time and it was exciting to see the diversity of the audience.

The Gala screened in three screening rooms concurrently.  The first screening was with an audio description read live by Frances Mathey from Ericsson who also wrote the audio description for the film. The second screening was with open captions and Auslan interpretation by Yasmin. The third screening was a relaxed screening where people were welcome to be themselves and enjoy the film in whatever way they wished and move around as they needed to. There was also a chill out area adjacent to the screening room.

The organisers worked with Westfield Shopping Centre to create a document that detailed the best ways to access the building and get to the cinema complex. For the first time this year a Visual Story was created for the cinema complex and the film.

The 2016 Access All Areas Gala Screening stepped up the access offered by commercial cinema environments this year and the organisers are determined to build on those steps in 2017. They welcome feedback from the disability community, particularly ideas about additional features, supports or information that they can provide to enable more people to experience cinema with as much ease as possible. If you’d like to contribute your ideas please email

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