Joe Clark: Media access

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CinemaAustin Powers made accessible with Canadian sponsorship

Updated 2002.07.24

Austin Powers made accessible with Canadian sponsorship

“The King of Closed Captions” salutes first-ever Canadian sponsorship of captioned and described movie

TORONTO, 23 July 2002 – Accessibility consultant and author Joe Clark today saluted Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures for being “the first Canadian movie distributor to step up to the plate” to make a popular movie accessible to moviegoers who are deaf or blind.

Austin Powers in Goldmember will play with captions (for deaf viewers) and audio descriptions (an extra narration track for blind viewers) in many U.S. and Canadian theatres starting July 25–26, 2002.

About the system

Joe Clark – dubbed “the king of closed captions” by the Atlantic Monthly and the author of the upcoming book Building Accessible Websites – explained the captioning and description system:

“We’re not talking about special screenings or prints here,” Clark pointed out. “You can go to any showing of a captioned and described movie in a theatre that has the equipment. It’s completely equal. Whether you have a hearing or visual disability or not, you and your friends can all can enjoy the movie together.”

Deaf or blind viewers can and do sit right alongside nondisabled people, who are not bothered by the accessibility equipment. “If you need accessibility, it’s available. If not, you never have to know it’s there,” Clark said.

First-ever Canadian sponsorship

Alliance Atlantis Motion Pictures, the film’s Canadian distributor, has sponsored the full cost of captioning and audio description. (Alliance Atlantis pays for the creation and addition of captions and descriptions; it is credited alongside the U.S. originating studio, New Line Cinema, in the captions and descriptions themselves.)

“It’s an unprecedented cross-border sponsorship,” Clark said. “I’m really impressed that Alliance Atlantis understands the need for accessibility and was willing to fund the captioning and description cost for Austin Powers.

“With any luck,” Clark continued, “we’ll see further international sponsorship of movie accessibility. I’m hopeful that Canadian feature films will soon get the MoPix treatment.”

Equipped movie theatres

Approximately 50 commercial movie screens in Canada and the U.S. are equipped with the MoPix system, including 20 Famous Players screens in Canada. Moviegoers should surf to for links to theatre locations and showtimes.

About Joe Clark

Toronto consultant Joe Clark provides accessibility expertise for clients in the Web, television, video, and cinema fields. The world’s leading independent authority on motion-picture accessibility, his interest in accessible media – captioning, audio description, Web access, and related topics – dates back more than 20 years. He has covered the MoPix system since 1996. His book on Web accessibility, Building Accessible Websites (New Riders Publishing), comes out this fall.

Check his accessibility and cinema Web sites.

Contact Joe Clark

For comments or interviews, send E-mail.

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