Two Celebration Cinema theaters soon will offer public, open captioned movies for deaf and hard-of-hearing moviegoers.
Studio C, the parent company of Celebration Cinema, will pilot open captioning beginning Friday, Feb. 18, at Celebration Cinema Rivertown, 3728 Rivertown Parkway in Grandville, and Celebration Cinema Crossroads, 6600 Ring Road in Portage.
All wide release movies in their first two weeks of engagements will be programmed with an open caption (OCAP) where the movie’s dialogue will be captioned on-screen on Sunday afternoons and evenings.
“We offer movie-going experiences that provide enjoyment and meet the needs of our community,” said Emily Loeks, director of community affairs, Studio C. “We are always looking for the best ways to expand on that. Open captioning provides greater comfort and enjoyment for some audiences, including deaf and hard-of-hearing community members and some for whom English is a second language.”
Celebration Cinema has partnered with different regional organizations to present open-captioned movies to private groups for a number of years.
“Our weekly, local OCAP movies have been popular,” said Tanya Timmerman, community organization coordinator of Kalamazoo Area Deaf Night Out. “This new pilot of more regular, public shows is a move in a great direction, breaking down barriers and providing more comfortable access. We are beyond thrilled and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the deaf community as well as others who appreciate open captioning.”
Celebration Cinema also received consultation services from Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services.
“We were thrilled to be asked by Emily and her team to provide our expertise in this area, and we look forward to the rollout of this new initiative,” said Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Executive Director Deb Atwood.
Open captioned shows will be marked on the Celebration Cinema website and at the box office with the attribute OCAP.
Closed captioning, which requires the use of special devices, will continue to be available for most movie presentations throughout the week.